We live in a time where indie cafes and hipster local restaurants seem to be taking over the urban scene—one that the Kitchener-Waterloo (KW) community is no stranger to.
With cafes like Matter of Taste, Settlement &Co, and Smile Tiger Roasters, KW is a hub for this booming hipster and millennial subculture.
So it was only a matter of time before someone turned an old building into a modern grocery store with a beautiful and open feel in the heart of downtown Kitchener.
The couple behind the creative initiative were no other than Johnny Kent and Sarah Pepper, downtown-core residents themselves who found that getting groceries was a daunting task.
With more residents moving to the downtown core, and with start-up communities adopting a more bike and walking friendly means of transportation, it was prime time for a local grocer.
Seeing this trend, and knowing they had a strong potential market, J&P seized the opportunity. Now the couple has ownership of a beautiful 5,000-square-foot grocery store that is local and right in the center of downtown for the whole KW community to be part of.
Not your typical Grocery store
John and Pepper (J&P) are not your typical grocery owners; they are cool and super casual people—don’t be surprised if you see them around the store either.
They are always there taking shipments, talking to customers, or Instagramming the latest happenings around the store.
Catch their chefs on @jandpgrocery Instagram stories making J&P’s popular homemade red pepper dip or many other delicious eats in their in-house kitchen!
Like the owners, the grocery’s location is modern and stylish. The atmosphere inside is super calm, giving the store some very hipster vibes much like local indie cafes.
J&P Grocery is turning dreaded grocery store trips into a pleasant escape. You can even grab a cappuccino in the café upstairs—which is local as well.
J&P Grocery features Smile Tiger Coffee Roasters in their J&P Cafe on the mezzanine level. Smile Tiger's coffee beans are ethically sourced and prepared to perfection!
Local Ontario Products Available
Aside from their coffee, J&P is keen on building strong relationships with other local businesses and supplying local products.
They partnered with businesses like Elora Bread Trading Co., Pickle's Eh, Grainharvest Breadhouse Inc., Golden Hearth Bakery, Nature’s Mix, Henry’s Temph, Ambrosia Pastry Co., Eby Manor Milk, McIntosh Farms, Harmony Milk, Finest Sausage & Meat Ltd, Sustainable Market, Junior's BBQ, and Mapletone’s Ice Cream, just to name a few.
Their J&P brand meat is also sourced from local farmers and suppliers.
Their local products are certainly popular in the store with the meats, breads, and dairy, especially Eby Manor Chocolate Milk flying off the shelves.
Though they try their best to be local, J&P are also realistic about the way we consume food and are “very inclusive” in their offering of products.
You will find some very local Ontario products but you will also find some common staples as you would in another grocery store—their store is meant to fit every type of customer!
However, when the season is in favour (e.g. summer), Sarah comments that they will source their produce as local as they can.
Sarah and John are on the floor everyday trying to improve their business in every way possible. They even take requests from customers if they don’t carry a product.
They are really driving the meaning of local and community with J&P Grocery. So if you are in the Kitchener-Waterloo area, be sure to check out this un-ordinary grocery shop in the heart of downtown Kitchener!
J&P Grocery is located at 8 Queen Street N, Kitchener, ON, N2H 2G8