When Lee Plank’s sister took her homemade hummus to a party in 1994, she had no idea she’d have to quit her job to make more of it full time.
“It was never meant to be a business,” said Plank, who took over the business in 1998. “A person there owned a small restaurant, a deli, and the people at the party ended up liking it and they wanted to sell it at their stores.”
Over the last 21 years, Holy Homous has gone from being stocked at one or two stores to being a recognized brand on Vancouver Island. Now the company is getting some more recognition, thanks to Country Grocer’s partnership with Localize, a program that highlights local foods in grocery stores.
Holy Homous is among 111 food producers to have Localize stickers on their products at six Island Country Grocer locations, including Royal Oak. The red labels feature a quick-response (QR) code that allows customers with smartphones to learn more about where their food was made, grown or raised.
The labels also make it easier to identify and support local businesses, with each code assigning a score out of 10 based on how local each item is to the consumer.
“It’s nice that we can make it easier for our customers to identify local products on our shelves,” said Country Grocer director Peter Cavin in a statement. “It’s all about sustainability and helping each other in our community.”
The fact that these stickers are on Holy Homous products in Country Grocers is fitting, given their longstanding relationship.
“We’ve been with Country Grocer for maybe close to 15 years – we started out at the Royal Oak Country Grocer and expanded from there,” said Plank. “It just seems like forever.”
Plank said the program is a great way to make his products stand out, especially as more people are shifting toward the idea of supporting local businesses.
“It just makes sense, with people eating local and supporting your economy and your local farmers,” he said. “You always want to give back to your economy. They’d rather spend their dollar with their local guythan a big-box store.”
For more information about the Localize program, visit localizeyourfood.com.