The Sweet Potato opened its doors in early 2008.
How it all began
Much like an actual tuber, The Sweet Potato started small. It began as an outdoor produce market in High Park that ran during weekends in the summer and early fall. Digs, the proprietor, forged warm relationships with local farmers and producers, which helped him ensure the freshest produce at the sweetest prices. After a few years of seasonal business, two customers suggested opening a full-time store - and the idea for The Sweet Potato was born. After a season of planning, in early 2008 The Sweet Potato opened its doors for the first time.
The perks of a brick-and-mortar store were immediately evident. Not only did it have a roof to keep the weather off, but there was room for more produce, coolers for meat & dairy, and space for whole new departments. They started carrying baked goods, frozen foods, and Body Care products. Green Beaver was one of the first brands The Sweet Potato brought in, proudly occupying the shelves since opening day. As a Canadian, family-owned company Green Beaver matches perfectly with Sweet Potato values. And it has been a great seller for over seven years - the GB Kids' Toothpaste is the #1 toothpaste brand at The Sweet Potato!
One of the interesting things about The Sweet Potato is that most of the managers don't have a background in business. Digs and CJ, the owners, are a music producer and a painter; many of the other managers are musicians, and there are writers, performers, and other creative types in the mix. That's one of the reasons that it's such a unique place - from the beginning, it was less about the bottom line than about being the kind of place that aesthetics and epicureans - and people who love food, people, and feeding people - wanted to see in the world!
That mix of staff seems to work wonders, because after eight years as a full-service organic and natural grocery store, The Sweet Potato is growing again! They're moving to a heritage building just around the corner from the previous location. The new location will feature expanded produce and grocery, much more Body Care, and expanded grab-n-go products, as well as a full meat counter, a fish counter, and two kitchens. There will be parking, a vitamins and supplements store, and everything else their customers have always wanted (but couldn't fit into the original location). We can't wait to see inside!"
Every year, The Sweet Potato donate as much as possible to local community groups, with a special focus on education (including non-profit schools and day cares), farming and farm support (like Farm Start, which helps train the next generation of Ontario farmers), and food security organizations (such as The Stop CFC and Sistering: A Woman's Place). They are very enthusiastic about working with neighbourhood and community groups, supporting events such as The Junction Pumpkinfest and The JRA's Function in The Junction. They especially like doing things for local kids: they recently hosted a Girl Guide's Sparks group, giving them a store tour and helping them earn their Healthy Living badges, and last winter they hosted a March Break concert/dance party for families with young kids to "dance the winter blues away". Basically, The Sweet Potato loves the Junction (Toronto Neighbourhood) and is always excited to help make it even better!
The most popular are: vetiver scented deodorant, kids' sunscreen, cilantro flavoured toothpaste, lavender scented liquid castile soap, and the spearmint flavoured lip balm.
Check out their website to learn more about this great store and follow them on social media.