Lucky’s Exotic Bodega

Lucky’s Exotic Bodega is a very unique corner store that specializes in snacks from around the world. We are a new business with two locations – 2641 East Hastings Street (Playland), and now 41st/Knight (behind the Duffin’s). We are open every day 9-midnight, even on holidays, and delivery through Uber, Skip the Dishes, or directly. We provide great products and flavours from around the world, and giving people who can’t travel a sense of adventure, and others a taste of home. We’re a new age bodega, and we set out to recreate what a convenience store looks like. We provide great customer service, and comparable prices to regular stores. We are all about community – Lucky’s is about being welcome, we do what we can to make people’s day a bit better. We are a proud BCLC lotto retailer, and we love the people that the lotto brings in.

Question: How are you supporting other local businesses?

Answer: We buy almost all of our services from local businesses – about 90% is from local companies. For us it’s about strong relationships, the community, and sharing the important value that we have for customer service. We buy our insurance locally from The Co-operators in Coquitlam. Sue Sim is our agent and she gives us the best advice and service. For accounting, bookkeeping and payroll we use HM Tax. Monty Sody is the owner, and he makes it easy and seamless to work with him. For fridge maintenance we use Vortex Food Equipment – Amin gives us 10/10 customer service. Our plumbing company is Trinity Plumbing – all the plumbers and the owners are amazing.

Question: What social and environmental practices are you proud of?

Answer: We have 9 employees and the business wouldn’t be the same without them. I have the best employees! They all understand the vision for the business and help us build it. Our team is our family, we want to help them create a work environment they love because if you love what you do, you don’t work a day in your life. We pay our staff more than minimum wage, and we’re looking into health/dental benefits. We are such a new business, so we are working towards that and our staff are helping us do that. So far, the owners don’t take a salary so we can pay people well.

In terms of environmental impact, we recycle as much as we can – cans, bottles, cardboard. We have recycling at the store for people who bring bottles to us we can recycle. We separate out the deposit refund bottles and set them out for homeless people who need the money; we are happy to give it to them to make their lives easier. Food waste is an issues we’re working on. The best before dates would typically dictate that we throw good food in the bin. We don’t sell anything in store that’s beyond its best before date, but we launched a new program to give that food away for free. Sometimes it’s a freebie to a customer at the cash, and sometimes we donate to different shelters. We’re still setting it up, and reaching out to shelters to see what they’ll take. Our goal is to have zero wastage. We try not to use bags, and most of our customers bring their own bags. The ones we provide are made from recycled material. Mostly if a customer makes a bigger purchase, we try to reuse one of our cardboard boxes. There’s a plastic bag ban coming in January and we strictly follow all the City’s regulations.

The community is the heart of Lucky’s and our creed is to give back. There are a lot of homeless people around our locations, so we prepare packages with essentials to support them – water, chips, hand sanitizer, warm socks. This is something we’ve done pretty privately on the weekends on our own. We do it about twice a week. We also have the Lucky’s Community Street Team – goes around the neighbourhood and cleans up trash.