By Meg Olson
Auntie Pam’s Country Store’s customers are signing on to a petition to ask food giant Trader Joe’s to let the store bring their products to the Point again.
“Our customers love Trader Joe’s coffees, chips and boxed candy and miss having any opportunity to buy them,” said owner Pamala Sheppard.
Until last fall, Sheppard purchased products at Trader Joe’s in Bellingham, which she resold in her store. She brought in products requested by certain customers “who are housebound or cannot leave Point Roberts because of border issues.”
Last October, both Sheppard and then Brewster’s Fine Foods owners Sandra and Richard Procter received notification that Trader Joe’s considers the resale of its products a threat to the “goodwill and reputation as the company does not control the handling and sale of the items.” Both businesses complied with the demand to discontinue resale of Trader Joe’s products.
Sheppard said she spoke with Trader Joe’s lawyers, hoping to clarify the unique situation of the Point and set up parameters under which she could continue to provide a personal shopping service for specific clients. “They wouldn’t budge, going so far as to state we could not even buy products for family members if we received repayment,” she said.
Sheppard has no intention of reintroducing Trader Joe’s products to the store and the petition is asking that Sheppard be able to buy specific items for specific customers at full retail price, adding only a small markup or a flat fee to compensate for gas and time. Five days after launching her petition on February 10, Sheppard said she had 115 signatures.
Sheppard said she had chosen to sell the Trader Joe’s items in order to give her customers access to reasonably priced organic choices. She will continue to do so, she said, through a partnership with Bosa Foods. Founded in 1957 on Victoria Drive in Vancouver, Bosa Foods specializes in importing high quality Italian and Mediterranean specialties.
“They have the best dried pasta you’ve ever had in your whole life,” Sheppard said. Auntie Pam’s Country Store will also be stocking Lavazza coffee, cookies and chocolates, olives, oils, jarred peppers and tomato puree and paste, along with a growing selection of other items she will be bringing in from Bosa.
“We will be emphasizing organics and the standards in Italy are very high for all products,” she said.
To sign the petition, visit Auntie Pam’s Country Store or Point Roberts Parcel Service. The petition can also be signed online at Care2 petitions (thepetitionsite.com).