Windsor Ontario News / Food & Retail

Family takes back Italia Bakery

WindsorOntarioNews Sept 22 2017

The iconic Italia Bakery on Erie Street is no more; instead it’s Mancini’s Italia Bakery.

The bakery, after closing temporarily, has now reopened under management of the original Mancini family, which had owned it since 1974.

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Consumers, experts agree - canned beer is better than the bottled variety August 29 2017

When it comes to the best container for a cold one, cans are increasingly winning out over bottles.

Both The Beer Store and the LCBO report increased sales of cans versus the one time ubiquitous bottle.

“In our publicly available stewardship report for calendar 2016, packaged beer sales of common product were split at 54% bottles and 46% cans,” Bill Walker, The Beer Store’s spokesman, told

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Only Loblaw-bannered stores have online shopping in Windsor area July 28 2017

The grocery industry is changing quickly, especially with Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods, sending traditional grocers, including those in Canada, scrambling to shore up their competitive edge.

That means investing in online ordering and pickup and delivery.

In Windsor and Leamington, the only places you can shop online so far are for stores under the Loblaw brand – and the service is pick-up only.

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Price difference at the checkout counter? You have protection June 27 2017

Was the scanned price of an item at the supermarket cash not what you though it would cost?

You have some protection.

Most major grocery and non-grocery retailers follow what’s known as the Scanner Price Accuracy Voluntary Code.

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In a first, Windsor and county BIAs team to market to American shoppers May 23 2017

For the first time the city and county BIAs are teaming up to pitch to Americans just how great Windsor-Essex is as an area in which to play and shop.

The campaign - which includes traditional media ads in newspapers and radio as well as on online sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – will intersperse various of the city’s BIAs along with county business associations.

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With rising prices, Dollarama's opting for credit cards might make sense May 5 2017

Dollarama is finally allowing you to charge your purchase with a credit card.

Customers might think that only makes sense given the steady rise – if only by a few bucks – of many Dollarama products in recent years.

It’s also good merchandising strategy, say retail analysts.

Until recently, the Montreal-based chain, which actually dates to a family store in 1910 - has only accepted cash or debit.

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Privacy a non-issue as Canada Post helps advertisers target customers March 6 2017

Canada Post is now helping businesses attract preferred customers through the use of postal codes.

But customers shouldn’t be concerned about losing their privacy, Canada Post says.

Up to now companies could send brochures or flyers to customers by identifying letter carrier routes, but this could be overly broad in scope.

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"Delicious" non-alcoholic wine, beer January 12 2017

An up and coming Toronto-based company wants non-alcoholic wine and beer to be as delicious as the real thing.

Hill Street Beverage Co. is bottling several private label wines but is best known for its MADD Virgin Drinks brand, which offers several types of wine, champagne and beer.

The MADD product is widely available at Shoppers Drug Marts and is carried in some 3000 stores across Canada, CEO Terry Donnelly said.

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"About" grocery express checkouts Sept. 8 2016

A Detroit Area supermarket is doing away with signage indicating the exact number of items allowed through the express checkout.

But the trend doesn’t seem to be catching on in Canada.

Kroger’s is introducing signs saying “about 15 items” rather than “15 items or less” or some other number.

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Store connects artists with customers July 22 2016

A Windsor store is on the cutting edge in giving artists a place to sell their work.

The Urban Art Market, which opened in January, solved the problems of where artists can display and sell work when they otherwise might not be able to afford a storefront.
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Dollar Tree Canada versus Dollarama June 21 2016

It’s the price guarantee that might stand out more than anything.

Unlike one of its main competitors, Dollarama, Vancouver-based Dollar Tree Canada sells every item in the store for $1.25 – and $1.25 only.

It’s such an important marketing tool that Dollar Tree posts separate window signs advertising that fact.

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There's a new grocery sheriff in Towne May 26 2016

There’s a new sheriff - a grocery sheriff - in town and she plans to shake things up.

She’s Jennifer Hazelton, and she’s the new owner of Westside Foods in Olde Sandwich Towne.

Hazelton and her dad Robert bought the Westside grocery almost a year ago and have slowly been making changes.

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Not just awesome, it's Hawesome April 8 2016

It’s an awesome name for a candy shop.

In fact, it’s the Hawesome Candy Shop and it’s located in LaSalle.

The shop, with a decided “retro” product line, opened about a year ago and is soon to expand its hours.

It’s located on Front Road in a building that used to be a restaurant serving Mediterranean food.

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Iconic LL Bean store coming to area March 8 2016

The venerable LL Bean outdoor wear and merchandise store is coming to the Detroit area.

The Maine-based LL Bean, which dates from 1912, will open a 14,000 sq. ft. store this summer at the Mall of Partridge Creek.

This will be a full retail store and not an outlet, said LL Bean spokesman Mac McKeever.

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US merchants' credit card terminals may reject Canadian chip cards February 18 2016

Canadians may find their credit cards rejected when travelling to the US.

It might be because of new credit card chip technology that American merchants are still getting used to.

As of Last October 1 all merchants doing credit card transactions had to have the technology in place.

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Community mailboxes made in the USA February 1 2016

Canada Post continues its secrecy over why it ordered its new community mail boxes from an American and not a traditionally-used Canadian firm.

“Canada Post has rigorous procurement processes, is subject to NAFTA and is a key enabler and contributor to the Canadian economy,” was all that post office spokeswoman Anik Losier told in an email.

A follow up call requesting details of the contract was not returned.

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You have just one chance to get it right December 12 2015

To claim a big cash prize or car in a draw at Caesars Windsor you must answer correctly a skill testing question – a relatively simple math question – or lose the prize.

No ifs, ands, or buts.

That's despite suggestions on the web or in a recent item in a Detroit newspaper that, if you err, you get more chances to answer the question until you get it right.

Casino spokeswoman Jhoan Baluyot says it's the law - the question must be asked for Caesars to be in compliance with the Criminal Code of Canada.

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A'burg's D'Angelo's B.C. winery unaffected by provincial wild fires August 25 2015

Amherstburg’s Sal D’Angelo wasn’t at all affected by the wild fires that blew though his province this month.

D’Angelo, who still has his winery in the burg - run by his son Christopher - moved to southern British Columbia about 15 years ago for health reasons, where he started his second vineyard, also known as D’Angelo Estate Winery.

“There’s fires to the left of me there’s fires to the right of me, how does that song go?” he said, only partly joking, from his farm along Lake Okanagan on the Naramata Bench, just north of Penticton.

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Gluten-free bakery eyeing expansion August 14 2015

Healthy Creations - Windsor’s first full-fledged gluten-free bakery - is considering expanding to a second location, likely in Tecumseh.

The small bakery in south Windsor, with a second location in London and a bake factory on County Rd. 46, opened in 2009 and now offers a diversified variety of sole-sourced (their own) baked goods.

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Hate cooking for Christmas? You can pre-order dinner

Fed up with the time and effort to prepare Christmas dinner? There are few choices locally for people who’d just like to chuck it and simply pick up a pre-cooked meal for the big day. One of those is Windsor’s Creekside Market, located at City Market on Walker Rd. The meals are pre-cooked and feature turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, green bean casserole or corn, a bun and a slice of pumpkin pie, and priced at $14 including tax. Owner Sharon Mickle says she prefers if people pre-order (519-980-1863). “But I also have some turkey dinners ready for customers that just walk in.” Jeff White of Just Jeff's Gourmet Express on Howard Ave. has also been offering prepared meals, and says this year's "menu and pricing should be posted by mid month." – 10/11/17

Thank warmer temps for earlier peaches

If you though baskets of peaches at the grocers as early as the first week of August were a little early this year, you’re right. Higher than warmer temperatures resulted in delicious Ontario peaches getting to grocery shelves before they usually do. “The peach crop in 2017 was slightly early this year due to warm temperatures,” says Kathryn Carter, fruit crop specialist with the Ontario agriculture ministry. However, cooler temperatures this month “have shifted” the harvest back into line with an average year. Growers are currently picking Red Haven. The majority of Ontario peaches are fresh market and there are 5,000 acres of orchards in southwestern Ontario and Niagara. – 18/8/17

Wal-Mart Photo lawsuit? You may be eligible

Were you the victim of a data breach using Wal-Mart Photocentre and, for example, incurred fraudulent charges on your credit card? You’re eligible to apply for compensation under a court settlement to victims of the “data security incident”, says the Canadian Merchant Law Group. You would have to have used the Wal-Mart Photocentre website between June 1 2014 and July 10 2015. Out-of-pocket expenses would be compensated at the rate of $15/hour for five hours “spent remedying the losses,” Merchant Law says. You’d have to present documents to back your claim. If no documents, you may receive $15/hour for up to two hours. There’s $400,000 in the overall pot with money dispersed on a first-come basis. The agreement also provides funds for free credit monitoring services. Claims and more information can be obtained at – 27/6/17

A bistro in a grocery

A bistro in a supermarket? It seems all the rage though not, alas, in Windsor. Never fear. If you want that continental touch after buying the tomatoes and paper towels (a green product of course) you can go to the new Whole Foods Market opening at 2100 East Maple in Birmingham, Mi. in August. Cafes are popping up in other groceries elsewhere and the bistro concept has proved a hit. “This is without a doubt the most popular type of venue we put in our new stores,” Whole Foods’ Scott Salsbury told the Detroit Free Press. – 4/5/17

Two local festivals make the grade

Two local festivals have made Festivals & Events Ontario’s Top 12 list of provincial “food and food-themed” events. The LaSalle Strawberry Festival, entering its 30th year, runs June 8 – 11 and features a carnival, parade, live entertainment and vendors. And the 42nd annual Tecumseh Corn Festival runs Aug 24 – 27, and hosts a “spectacular variety of family entertainment, contests,” says the non-profit Kitchener-based organization that promotes festivals. There are some 100 provincial festivals with food themes, the organization, which also markets and provides education, says. – 8/4/17

Air Miles quite contrite

Air Miles got into a lot of hot water when it decided not to honor customers’ points beyond five years. But just two days after it appeared before an Ontario legislative committee examining cancellation policies for loyalty programs, the company’s parent LoyaltyOne, switched gears and decided to allow the points after all. In an email to customers, Air Miles’ head Blair Cameron was quite contrite. He said Canada’s “favourite loyalty program” did not “live up” to that standard. “2016 was a challenging year, and we learned very difficult, public and humbling lessons,” he said. Cameron said Air Miles going forward in fact will be improving services for wait times and the “online experience.” – 15/3/17

Upcoming Metro stores announcement

Metro stores is planning a major announcement for the Windsor area. Next Friday company officials will be in Windsor alongside Mayor Drew Dilkens to make “a special announcement about our planned investment in the Windsor market,” a news release says. “Over the coming months, Metro and Food Basics will invest a significant amount of capital in renovations, new store openings and our employees.” Officials will discuss plans for Metro and its discount chain Food Basics “as well as how they’re planning on giving back through our community investment programs.” No word on whether this goes beyond what the public has already been told about Metro’s local investments. This includes a future Metro at the former Target store space at Devonshire Mall, and about the recent conversion of a Metro to a Food Basics at University Plaza. – 17/2/16

HMV mall store closing

Just when you may have thought one local mall store was impervious to online shopping, it’s closure has now been announced. HMV Canada’s large Devonshire Mall store will be closing in the coming weeks as part of a general closure of all HMV outlets in Canada. A sales associate at the store said no date has been set for the closure. “It could be tomorrow, it could be next week or month, it depends on how sales are going.” Indeed, the British-based retail giant (whose UK business remains unaffected), says the closure is directly related to the decline in people purchasing physical CDs and DVDs. “The market for CDs & DVDs in Canada has experienced more significant declines in each of the last two years than has been seen in most other major markets,” a Jan. 27 release said. HMV has 102 Canadian outlets. – 2/2/17

Ontario doesn't end at London, LCBO says

Hockey is big. And rivalries - especially between Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs fans – are no more intense than in southwestern Ontario. So when a customer recently was told he couldn’t buy the Crown Royal Special Edition Maple Leafs bottle with accompany glasses (price: $34.45) – he was a little miffed and thought “Here we go again, Ontario ends at London.” Not true, says LCBO spokeswoman Christine Bujold. The bottle is available throughout the LCBO network and isn’t restricted simply because Windsor might be considered more of a Red Wings market. If it’s not in the store, she said, simply tell a clerk to order it through LCBO’s inter-store shipping system. – 12/12/16

Millennials - who else? - drive wine in a can

Millennials may be too busy – or lazy - to eat cereal out of a bowl, as recent news reports suggest. But it’s the same reason they’re also behind a new product now on LCBO shelves – wine in cans. “This time-strapped segment of the consuming public demands convenience, accessibility and approachability when purchasing wine (and almost anything else), and a can provides just that,” the government alcohol agency says. This spring and summer Big House Pinot Grigio and Zinfandel wines from California have been making an appearance in cans. The 250 mL cans price at $3.95 and are sold as singles. That’s to “encourage customers to give the wine – and packaging – a try,” LCBO says. If you like “local” wines Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Between the Lines winery is also coming out with a sparkling VQA in a tin. A three-pack sells for $17.85. – 2/8/16

Walmart's bag charge

Walmart Canada, one of the last hold outs for providing shoppers free plastic bags, no longer does so. In fact the retailer started charging for bags – five cents – in February. Walmart said it is being a good steward of the environment. “A reduction of single-use shopping bags represents a tremendous opportunity to minimize the amount of waste being sent to landfills,” the store said. The chain says it’s also working with suppliers “to develop innovative packaging that reduces the need for bags.” Unlike grocery stores, though, Walmart had offered plastic bags in different sizes given the large variety of products it sells. Retail analyst Doug Stephens told CBC Walmart was “late to the table” in charging for bags. Walmart did not return a request for comment. – 7/7/16