There's No Place Like Home

By Charelle Evelyn on December 12 2013

When I say locally sourced foods, you say hipster. But the brains behind Home Sweet Home aren’t looking to jump on a fad of overpriced groceries. Diandra Oliver and Laura Sapergia are looking to fill the downtown Prince George grocery store chasm with healthy options that won’t break the bank.

As single mothers, they’re accustomed to doing things on the cheap, said Oliver. “We really wanted to share that and celebrate that in the community. Because things like local food, gluten-free and vegan all come from really privileged sites of discussion,” she said. “And that’s not where our intention comes from. Our intention comes from survival and wanting to support our local economy and protect the environment and teach our kids values that are really community minded.” For nearly a year, the duo has been fundraising, finding the perfect location and prepping suppliers for their business venture. And it’s one community members have been anxiously awaiting.

Home Sweet Home Grocery has been envisioned as a place with locally grown produce, fill-your-own-container bulk dry goods and deli items, a coffee bar serving B.C. grounds, meals made fresh in the store’s kitchen, and a workshop space. Some people aren’t able to contain their excitement, according to Sapergia, who has been the recipient of tactile displays of affection from relative strangers. “[Prince George] has been really supportive and awesome,” she said. It’s something the city has been building towards and perhaps wasn’t ready for just yet, or wasn’t done the right way.

Understanding the northern market is important, noted Oliver, who is from Terrace, while Sapergia was raised in P.G. While a major urban centre may take on the challenge as a point of fashion, a smaller market may turn to local food because it’s cheaper, she said. It also requires a larger focus on community. A crowd-funding campaign over the summer raised more than $3,000 for the store. “You have to work together to get things done,” said Oliver.

Home Sweet Home started years ago as an online portal for Oliver and Sapergia to share their love of homemade goods, be they crafts, clothes or food. Their annual art and craft bazaar is Dec. 7 at Artspace. Visit www.yerhomesweethome.com, find HSH Grocery on Facebook or follow @HSHGrocery on Twitter to keep up with the everchanging developments.

CHARELLE EVELYN

REPORTER FOR THE PRINCE GEORGE CITIZEN

Journalist, west coast native, music lover. Made in Canada.

WGO2013Norm Coyne