The Store Closing – A Message from Sandra

January 4, 2015

Firstly, I would like to take a moment to thank all our customers. Without your support, loyalty, and encouragement, the store would not have grown the way it has. I appreciate everything.

It is with mixed emotions that I inform you about the upcoming closure of Sandra’s Original Gluten Free General Store. We have many loyal and wonderful customers, so this may be coming as a surprise, but it is the right time for this move, for many reasons, both personal and relating to the gluten free industry.

The past 6 years have been an amazing adventure for me. I have learned more than I ever thought possible about that little protein, which causes so many problems. I have met, literally thousands of amazing people. As each of you entered the store I was able to hear a new story, learn about a new challenge, or share in a new discovery.  In some cases I have made wonderful friends, whom I hope to stay in touch with.

With the ongoing change in the gluten free industry and the growing availability of gluten free food, the necessity for a speciality food store seems less critical. That combined with new opportunities related to my long-term goals, now is the right time to make this change.

On a personal note… 

I feel blessed that 7 years ago I discovered both my children were celiac and they are now happy and healthy on a gluten free diet. I feel very proud of the store I built during a time when it was difficult to source good gluten free products. However, as the gluten free industry changes, and the need for a specialty store lessens, it is time for me to return to some of my previous passions.

I have a background in theatre and have begun volunteering for some local theatre and festival groups. I hope to do more stage management and other creative pursuits over the next few years.

For those wondering why I’ve been away from the store recently, I’ve been working at the University of Calgary for almost six months. In March I will begin taking classes in creative writing at the U of C. I have been writing for several years, but it’s time to start taking the entire process more seriously and begin submitting my work for publication.

My children were 4 and 2 years old when they were diagnosed with celiac disease. Now my son is in grade six and my daughter is in grade 4. Neither of them remembers a time when I did not have the store; whether as a delivery business or the storefront. It will be an adjustment for them, but they are excited about the idea of a family vacation and having Mama home on Saturdays. Time with them is precious to me.

The amount of time required to maintain the store is no longer something I can fit in around the other parts of my life.

Regarding the industry…

When my children were diagnosed it felt like a minefield. There were different labeling laws, fewer products and much less awareness. Most of the products in the grocery store were lacking in quality, taste, and nutrition. My store grew out of a necessity to feed my family and a desire to help others. The availability of gluten free has skyrocketed, the quality has improved immensely, and the awareness of celiac disease has gotten so much better.

Thank you for many wonderful years and all the best in the future.

Sandra Grills