There is perhaps one word, more than any other, which best sums up our organization here at Natures Emporium. It’s a word that guides the decisions we make here every day – the quality products that we carry, the way we treat our team of employees, and in every single interaction that we have with you – our valued customer. It’s a word that represents our commitment to a sustainable future for the next generation.
That word is Family.
After all, it was one family's vision – lead by the late Angelo D’Addario – that saw a small booth at a Pickering flea market blossom into what is now:
One of Canada's premier health food markets - with locations in both Newmarket and Vaughan - sharing the world’s finest pure, natural and organic foods, vitamins, supplements, gluten-free, traditionally raised grass-fed meats, raw foods, natural skin care, cosmetics and home supplies as well as sustainable, eco friendly clothing for the whole family!
The story began in 1976.
From modest beginnings at the flea market, where Angelo and son Guy D’Addario would spend long hard hours every weekend, the D’Addario family managed to successfully build their business into a flourishing health and bulk foods store in Ajax, Ontario. They were quickly approaching their 20th anniversary when disaster struck: a devastating fire which destroyed their store and the small neighbourhood plaza in which it was operated.
It was a difficult time for the family, and some questioned how they would manage to continue.
However, within every dark cloud lays a silver lining. As Natures Emporium president Joe D’Addario says in reflection:
“Out of the ashes of Ajax rose Newmarket”.
A moment in search of inspiration found Joe venturing north to visit a close friends store in the growing town of Newmarket, Ontario.
It was a visit which would change the family’s life.
As Joe warmly states: “I drove up one November day to visit friends, and have been driving up here ever since”.
Beginning in a 5,000 square foot within the Weston Produce plaza, customers quickly gravitated to the warm and friendly environment created by Angelo and his children, including Joe and Guy, whose wife Teresa had rejoined the team after taking time off to fulfil her role as a happy new mother.
As Teresa recalls: “It was a homey atmosphere; very comfortable. We were able to directly engage and connect with everyone who came through our store. We built our business through interaction with our customers – something we still do today.”
Again operating under the bulk foods and health food store premise, local interest grew rapidly. Before long, they found themselves pushed well beyond capacity - every day seeing new customers walk through the door.
It was then that the idea to expand into a space triple the size came up.
Joe recalls laughing at the thought – at first.
“There was nothing like it here. I didn’t know how we would fill the shelves; I didn’t know if the people would come – I didn’t know if we could do it” he recalls.
However, as his mentor Rocco Tavernese put it best: “Nothing’s easy and nothing’s hard; you just gotta do it!”
Seizing yet another moment of inspiration, the D’Addario’s made the leap. It proved to be a sound decision, as local demand for organic foods and health supplements had begun to truly take off.
Yet, despite another 5,000 foot addition – bringing their space to just over 20,000 feet – they were still pushed to capacity, and the interest kept building.
With time came a new and, to some, radical idea: what if Natures Emporium moved into the large vacant space left by the former Weston Produce?
Not everyone was sure it would work. After all, this was another jump into a space more than twice the size of their current location. Was there enough interest from customers? Were there enough products to fill the store? Was this all too ahead of it’s time?
Remembering the words of his mentor years before, Joe, with his family along side him, knew that it could be done.
The D’Addario family knew that York Region was ready to take the next step in the evolution towards healthy living through great nutrition, built upon natural and organic foods.
And so today, within it's beautiful 50,000 square foot facility in Newmarket, a thriving 20,000 square foot location in Vaughan and a brand new store in Burlington, the Natures Emporium family continues to greet new faces every day.
Where does the future for our team here at Natures Emporium lie? The next chapter remains in your hands!
The road to this point is one that speaks to all families – the ups and the downs, the stumbling points and the triumphs that greet us all along the path of life.
“Sometimes as I walk through the building” says Joe, “I can still see little spots and places where I remember us placing the paintbrushes – small details that remind me of where we’ve been, where we came from. It’s a real moment of pride and happiness for me and for us all”
Now, as the next generation enters into the family business, the legacy that began with Angelo so many years before will continue on, just as he would have wanted it. Alongside hundreds of the dedicated, considerate and passionate employees that make up our store, it’s a family that keeps on growing - and none of it would be possible without customers like you visiting our store every day.
And so, the next time you find yourself walking through the doors to Natures Emporium to explore a world of natural, organic health foods, vitamins, supplements, gluten-free and more, remember:
Here at Nature's Emporium, you’re not just a customer. You’re not just a number. You’re family. Welcome home!
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