Gordanier Freshmart is a community grocer located in Elgin, a village in the heart of Rideau Lakes. A second-generation family-run business, owners Steve Gordanier and his sister Lyn Wills took over the operation from their parents. The friendly and welcoming store has a great selection of household staples, an in-store deli counter and bakery, and a variety of locally made products. The store employs over 20 individuals from the local area.
“I started working here when I was in Grade Ten,” recalls Steve. “We’ve always been known as the quiet grocer – we don’t blow our own horn.”
Gordanier Freshmart is a long-time supporter of community events including the Breakfast Program at South Crosby Public School, and significant contributors to the local Food Bank as well as many other local fundraising events and initiatives in the area.
“When we hear that somebody needs something, we try to lend a hand,” says Steve. “My father started it years ago – and we’ve kept it up. You enjoy the people – people come in and say ‘hi’. This area has been very good to us.”
In October, Gordanier Freshmart received the Rideau Lakes Business of the Year Award presented in person by Mayor Hoogenboom. A special plaque was also presented by local MPP Steve Clark.
“This is great. We appreciate it,” said Gordanier, noting the difficulties he and other grocers have faced during the pandemic.
While Elgin itself has a population of only 300 people, in the summer it serves as a hub for several thousand cottage residents. “This is a large tourist area,” commented Steve. “With the Rideau Canal nearby, and locks at Jones Falls and Chaffey’s, there’s a lot for people to see and enjoy.”