In 1995, celiacs were hard-pressed to find food that met their basic ‘gluten-free’ requirements. Lifestyle Markets came to ‘the table’ and became the ‘first-stop-one-shop’ for anyone new to the diet – or new to town.
20 years later, Lifestyle Markets is once again championing our cause – asserting that gluten-free consumers are entitled to the very best organic, non-GMO options available, within our dietary imperative. Count on excellence as their standard!
Gluten-Free Bakers: Lifestyle Markets on Douglas offers the most comprehensive selection of gluten-free flours and baking ingredients in British Columbia.
Lifestyle Markets in Cook Street Village • 343 Cook St • 250-381-5450
Visit Lifestyle Markets’ sister store on Douglas Street north of downtown Victoria • 2950 Douglas Street • 250-384-3388 Lifestyle Select in Sidney, next to Sidney Pet Centre • 9769 Fifth St • 250-656-2326
Carmine Sparanese, owner Lifestyle Markets, Sidney location and general manager, Victoria locations, shares a bit of his story with writer Jo Barnes.
“Carmine never knows who might come through the doors at Lifestyle Markets. It might be an overdue pregnant woman looking for suggestions to induce labour or a businessman dealing with insomnia. But no matter the need, Carmine and his employees are always welcoming and helpful.
What brings people back to your store time and time again? I’ve watched customers interact with our team for years and believe it is that special connection and trust that brings people back. We’ve made the choice to only carry quality products and offer great pricing, but it really is the people who make the difference.
What sets your stores apart from others? We have amazing people that run our stores, people who know their stuff by attending ongoing training to stay up to date with new research and products. We carry a wonderful variety of foods and products that help support many lifestyle needs including vegan, gluten-free, paleo and more.
How did you get started in this business? I was involved in accounting work with Lifestyle at the original Victoria location and the owners Bryan and Lorraine Peterson offered me a position as General Manager. I liked the concept of the business and wanted to be part of it.
When did the Sidney store open? The store opened in 1996. I can’t believe it was 20 years ago that we opened this location!
Does the clientele of the Sidney store differ from Victoria store? We do have more seniors than the other two stores, although younger families are becoming a larger part of our clientele. We also serve many people from the Gulf Islands who find our Sidney location to be very convenient.
How are you celebrating the store anniversary? We are celebrating our 20th Anniversary on September 23 and 24 with product samples, wonderful prizes, and even cake. We will also be raising money for the Sidney Lions Food Bank.
How important is diet in life? Along with strong faith, family or social network, our diet is the single most important factor in living a healthy lifestyle. It is so beneficial to consume larger amounts of organic produce and high quality fats and leaving behind over-processed packaged and fast foods.
What are the popular products right now? Popular products include quality fats such as coconut oil and fermented foods such as kombucha and sauerkraut.
How do you keep up with trends? We listen to our customers!
What do you like about this business? When I go home, I think to myself “At Lifestyle we get to do this, we get to help people.” It’s amazing to see, to watch people transform. I’m excited to be a part of that.”
Wish you could try before you buy pricey gluten-free food? Here’s your chance! Join Ellen Bayens of The Celiac Scene for a fun and informative taste extravaganza! Second and fourth Saturday of every month Lifestyle Markets on Douglas Street between 12 and 2 pm. Look for Ellen’s smile in the Gluten-Free Department. No diagnosis or RSVP required.
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