There has been quite a buzz lately because a new edition to Liberty Village has just opened up. Many wonderful new store fronts are frequently joining the neighbourhood, but this time a garden centre has joined the community. Andy Ientile is the entrepreneur behind this new venture called Liberty Organic.
Situated behind Brazenhead in the parking lot owned by the Liberty Market Building, Liberty Organic has set up tents. This outdoor garden centre carries numerous types of floral arrangements, potted plants and herbs. For ten weeks, which began in early May, employees and residents can spruce up their home or office.
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Gardening Roots in the Family
When chatting with Andy, his nephew or sister, the love, knowledge and pride that they have for gardening can be extraordinarily felt. Beginning with Andy’s father, he always took great passion in wanting to win the neighbourhood’s prize for the largest zucchini or tomato. Similar to county fairs that offer prizes for the biggest pumpkin or squash, the same type of competition was held in the St. Clair community where the Ientile family had their homestead. Andy fondly reminisces about how the family still has the largest zucchini mummified at the house somewhere. While his father is unfortunately no longer here, Andy and his family all say that this is what their father would have loved to do and is a big driving motivational force for them. More family members are expected to the join Liberty Organic later in June once Andy’s kids are done school for the year.
Customer Service is Key
There is no pressure to buy at Liberty Organic. Customers come by daily, checking in to make sure that what they are eyeing is still available. Some have questioned if Andy and his team are only around until the end of the day or week, however the garden centre will be open every day until early July.
Andy encourages customers to buy when they are ready and not to rush. If the desired item isn’t in, he will bring it within a day or two. When the garden centre winds down in early July, the Liberty Organic grocery store located in 171 East Liberty in Unit #122 will be ready to welcome guests. Andy is a firm believer in being a part of the community. Much of the marketing and creative work was done by fellow Liberty Village business, Stitchy Lizard. Liberty Organic will be participating in the Liberty Village BIA’s annual Give Me Liberty Street Party.
It is important to know where the produce and product come from. Everything except the exotic floral arrangements are produced in Ontario. Andy sources it all from the Ontario Food Terminal multiple times a week. For the average Liberty Village resident, it is amazing as many do not have the resources to get down there and gardening options are limited within Liberty Village. Various price points are offered on product as it was uncertain how the community was going to react to the selection and price. Thus far, everything has been positive. Andy does mention that he didn’t expect to sell as many herb plants as he has and that they have been a huge hit! Many condo dwellers don’t have the necessary means for a full garden, especially with some balconies being small. Herbs can be easily grown inside or out if taken care of properly.
Liberty Village has warmly welcomed Andy and Liberty Organic. When he was sourcing a location, he was very quickly sold on this community due to the friendliness of all of the residents. He also noticed a gap in the lack of organic food produce options. We have many great eateries that cater to a healthy and organic lifestyle, but not necessarily a source where people can buy their ingredients and produce to make their own meals.
We look forward to the grocery store opening soon. And in the meantime, we will enjoy what the garden centre has to offer.