Glenburn Soda: Serving B.C.’s Abundance by Sourcing Local

photo: Larry Wright, Burnaby Now

Glenburn Soda Fountain & Confectionary is a retro-style fountain shop on Hastings Street in Burnaby Heights owned by husband and wife team Ron and Roberta LaQuaglia. The soda fountain brings a taste of a time gone-by to the Heights of Burnaby. It’s a neighbourhood place where friends can meet and where families are welcome. They offer nostalgic treats – ice cream, soda fountain specialties like floats and malts as well as an assortment of vintage candy and bottled pop.

Question: How are you supporting other local businesses?

 Glenburne by the numbersAnswer: We are committed to purchasing from local owned businesses, and local grown and made products. We get our ice cream from Birchwood Dairy, a local supplier in Abbotsford. We specifically chose them because they weren’t owned by a multinational. Our milk and cream come from Avalon Dairy, and our berries come from local farms – mostly Krause, but also Beckman and Forstbauer Farms. Our berries and fruit for sauces are often organic. The pies we sell are from local owned suppliers, and are local made. We know the baker, and often share sources of local grown berries, so they are often local grown too. We love their pies so much, we’ll pick them up if that can’t deliver that day. A lot of our other purchases, like laundry and banking, are from local businesses. I’d estimate about 75%.

Question: How else do you support your local community?

Answer: We’re passionate about kids, sports and active lifestyles. We hold fundraising days and donate $1 per item sold on those days to local schools. We prioritize active lifestyles, but also help local school PACs to fund technology upgrades for schools.

Question: How do you support the environment?

Answer: Unlike other ice cream shops that use disposable plastic cups and spoons, we encourage our customers to enjoy our products in the store in glass. If they want take-out, we encourage customers to use no packaging (cones!) or we provide compostable and recyclable packaging. We produce very little waste. We work to reduce packaging coming into the shop, and we recommend less packaging to our customers. We give our ice cream buckets away to arts studios and to food scraps collection programs to give away as compost buckets.

photo: Larry Wright, Burnaby Now

Article by: Susan Chambers, author of Small Business, Big Change: A Microentrepreneur’s Guide to Social Responsibility