Everyone’s favourite gourmet grocery, Pete’s, is celebrating a whopping 20 years in Nova Scotia next month, and to mark the occasion, owner Pete Luckett and company are pulling out all the stops to show us how much they appreciate our business.

A lot can change in 20 years—starting off as a modest market in Sunnyside Mall in Bedford, Pete’s has since expanded to two other locations (Dresden Road and in Wolfeville),won a mantle full of Best of Halifax awards (best smoothie, anyone?), adapted to all the complicated dietary restrictions the world has developed in the past 10 years—lactose intolerant, celiac, gluten-free, diabetic, amongst others---and continued to serve some of the freshest grub in town.

Now with two Pete’s To Go Go locations, one gluten-free cafe and bakery, three stores offering local and organic produce and international products and a newly introduced loyalty card (save 10 percent off on every 10th purchase), Pete’s is a pro at staying on the cutting edge of foodie culture.

Holly Chmelyk, operations manager for the Dresden Row location, says Pete’s always has one ear to the ground. “We’re always looking for opportunities in the food and grocery business—things are always moving and shaking, and it’s important to be on top of trends.” What’s most important, says Chmelyk, is listening to what customers want. “For our anniversary we have a big chalkboard in the middle of the store, and we’re asking our customers what they want to see in the future±they really dictate what we do at Pete’s.”

On November 3, all three locations will be hosting a big ol’ party with their customers, staff and suppliers. Chmelyk says there will be in-store demo booths, contests to enter, music±Willie Stratton will be playing at the Dresden Row location—and of course, lots of good eats.

So what’s the secret to a successful 20 years in the business? Chmelyk says it’s got to do with delivering top notch customer service along with quality products. “It’s about creating a food experience for our customers when they come in to grocery shop. It’s exciting when we hear customers saying, ‘I love coming into your store, because Pete’s make grocery shopping fun,’” she says. Great employees certainly don’t hurt, either. “We definitely wouldn’t be where we are if we didn’t have such great people working for us.”

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