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By Mary Scianna

At a time when many food retailers are scrambling to discover the next innovative concept, Farm Boy has stayed the course with a strategy based on a fresh market shopping experience and a best-in-class focus on customer service. That approach has helped the company grow from a 300-sq.-ft. one-store operation formed in 1981 in Cornwall, Ont., by Jean-Louis and Colette Bellemare, into a flourishing business boasting more than 23 stores and 3,200 employees across southwestern and eastern Ontario.

Co-CEOs Jean-Louis Bellemare, company founder, and Jeff York, who came on board in 2009, are implementing an ambitious five-year growth plan. “We’re putting all of our emphasis on Ontario, and planning to triple our presence in the GTA in the next three years,” says York. Within five years, he predicts, Ontario could see 50 Farm Boy stores. “We want to be a $1-billion company in the next five years.”

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