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expansion and success for Mr. Stavro's "little grocery store that could." By August 2000 though, the journey for Knob Hill Farms was over. At first, competition from competition from large "one stop bulk shops" cut into the overall grocery business, especially in North America. Then, some of the other prolific supermarket chains started capitalizing on the internal boutique business model - but in greater numbers and with more locations than the much larger bulk superstores.
Thus, an Ontario institution quietly slipped into the annals of Canadian business history. The gargantuan superstores appeared to be unstoppable in their quest to lure more customers away from the older, more specialized food chains. Then, almost as quietly, something unusual happened.
A trend started to develop, almost as a defiant response to the giant supermarkets' unflinching expansion. People started shopping for their groceries and other foodstuffs using online order and delivery services. Within a short time period, "cottage" industries that sold everything from candies and cookies to packaged meats and speciality foods started receiving higher and higher demands for their products from all corners of the globe.
Kyozou at ebay Live!
One American online seller, Jeff Weidman of Beulah's Candyland, was a successful businessmen who managed to move their "cottage" business into a full-fledged corporate venture - thereby contributing to the grinding halt in the expansionplans of the various brick-and-mortar megastores.
Jeff started professional life as a Certified Public Accountant, and in his own words, "got interested in the confectionary business because one of my own clients was doing so well." Jeff had, like many business professionals before him, began selling "knicks and knacks" on eBay, mostly "for fun". One day, he had a chance to invest in an entire case of a certain Life Savers product, the chocolate and caramel Crème Savers. He bought the case at a greatly reduced price and "on a whim" and to "satisfy his curiosity," he offered the candies for sale using his ebay account. He couldn't have foresaw the success he was about to have selling these candies online: the demand was huge.
"Really, all I wanted to do was to test it and see what the response was going to be," Jeff said. "We sold the entire case within minutes. We were onto something here."
(Toronto, Ontario, Canada) In February 2001, a Toronto
The Candy Store of the Future
landmark supermarket chain closed and locked its front doors, for the final time, after over 50 years in business. A Canadian businessman by the name of Steve Stavro, perhaps best known as the former Chairman of Toronto's gigantic Maple Leaf Sports and Entertainment (owners of the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Toronto Raptors sports franchises), had started a successful grocery business called Knob Hill Farms in 1953.
By the late 1950's, Knob Hill Farms had grown from a single, somewhat revolutionary "outdoor market" concept (especially for a Canadian city) to nine larger locations throughout the Greater Toronto Area. In the 1960's, Mr. Stavro was at the forefront of re-inventing the food distribution business by opening the first "food terminal" in Canada's largest city, and by 1981, Knob Hill Farms was considered one of the most successful grocery chains in all of North America. At one time, Knob Hill Farms even had what was billed as the "Largest Food Store in the World" operating to customer overflow capacity in suburban Mississauga.
The 1990's witnessed continued and constant