London Drugs offers shelf space to restaurants

Retailer expands Local Central program to help local restaurateurs in Western Canada
Shutterstock/Alisa Khliestkova

Restaurant products will soon be hitting the shelves at London Drugs.

The Richmond, B.C.-based retailer put a call out to restaurateurs in Western Canada to sell their house-brand consumer packaged products at select London Drug locations. Any restaurant with specialty items suitable for retail sales, including sauces, jams, rubs and apparel, can submit them for consideration.

“The collateral damage to small businesses created by the pandemic has been devastating and the restaurant industry—particularly those small and locally-owned—have sustained one of the heaviest blows,” said Clint Mahlman, president and COO of London Drugs, in a press release. “As a company, we want to offer any support we can to restaurateurs and businesses in our communities right now, and we know our customers do too.”

The helping hand to local restaurants comes exactly one year after London Drugs launched its Local Central program, offering shelf space to small businesses impacted by COVID-19. More than 1,200 Western Canadian businesses submitted products for consideration and around 100 were accepted into the program. The participants range from barbershop Harry & Sons, which is selling its beard and shave oils, to a bakery named Zena’s Gluten Free, which is selling its gluten-free mixes.

“The last year has pushed local businesses—including London Drugs—to become incredibly nimble,” said Mahlman. “One of the most public ways this has played out has been in the quick response of local restaurants and businesses to sudden closures and evolving distancing measures. With the Local Central program already in place, we are in a unique position to offer support quickly.”

London Drugs said 100% of all sales would go back to the local restaurant. The retailer is ready to review product submissions immediately, and restaurants could see their packaged products and merchandise on store shelves within a week.

There are some rules and restrictions, for example, the products must be packaged and shelf-stable goods only, they must be Health Canada approved with nutritional facts outlined, there’s no alcohol, cannabis or tobacco products allowed, and the business must be based in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan or Manitoba. Products are sold in London Drug’s retail stores only, not on its e-commerce site.

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