Fig Grocers celebrates its first year of business in Orangeville

April 21, 2022   ·   1 Comments

By Constance Scrafield

The name Fig for this Indian grocery store is not about the fruit but is an anagram for First Indian Grocer [in Orangeville] which only came to light for this writer during our telephone interview with owner Baljit Powar. The store is located at the Credit Creek Village mall at 163 First Street, where Harmony Whole Foods is a landmark.

“We are one year in March,” said Ms. Powar. “And we’re getting more response than when we opened. More people know we’re here so we’re getting busier.”

Ms. Powar and her family moved to Grand Valley only two years ago from Brampton and it was this move that inspired them to open their shop here.

“It happened that every time we needed any little thing – spices or rice or that sort of thing, we had to go all the way to Brampton. So, we thought it would be good to have a store in Orangeville,” said Ms. Powar.

The location in town is ideal as she pointed out, “Orangeville is a main city and so many little towns are around it and so it’s a good opportunity here.”

A leap of faith that is proving its worth, the family have been working to fill their shelves with everything they and others would need. All the basics of rice, spices, herbs, beans, tea, sauces, Indian pickles and so much more line the shelves. There are toiletries too coming from India that suit the growing Indian and Asian population well. Interesting herbal toothpastes, shampoos and soaps.

Filled with all these traditional Indian goods, it stands to reason that people who are not from India, not familiar with the spices and sauces do come to see what there is, bringing their recipes and looking for advice about cooking.

“People are coming for the meat at the back – we sell goat too,” Ms. Powar told the Citizen. “They are trying all the flavours. All the community comes here.”

There is a limited “hot table” with samosas and some curries, made off site and brought in but Ms. Powar longs to have a kitchen as part of her store where dishes could be made there. The counter at the front holds a lovely display of Indian sweets which are so delicious and quite different. 

“If we had a kitchen we could do more,” she said. “We have some curries from Indian companies. They are good you can enjoy the same taste,” she promised.

The proof of a grocer is in its clientele and Orangeville’s Indian restaurants shop at Fig Grocers too, bringing in much of what they need to delight their own customers.

She told us that all the toothpastes, one of which is made from clove, rice “and so forth” are brought by their suppliers who do the deliveries of their products which come from India.

With an increase in population, blocks of houses alongside every village in the broader area, Fig Grocers will be a great convenience to many people, who will no longer have to make the trek to Brampton for their needs. In addition, the store is a hub of information about the many cultures that live here. To learn about their holidays within the reality of shopping and seeing what is special to eat at special times, all this gastronomic information is conveniently located at the east end of First Street. People have encouraged Fig Grocer owners to stock cook books.

In answering what she likes about living and owning such a shop here, Ms. Powar said, “The community. The areas are nice and quiet and the community is very nice.”

With success increasing, she is naturally ambitious, “I want to grow, of course. If we find a good place where we can still be local with a kitchen, that would be good. The people coming here, moving from other towns are so happy to see us. They tell us thank goodness you are here, especially with these gas prices.

“It’s a good place for our children.”

To celebrate their anniversary, they had things on offer and discounts to encourage people to try different things, nice sweets. The shop’s location is good exposure on First Street just at the exit off Hwy 10 into Orangeville.

Ms. Powar looks to word of mouth to help expand the popularity of the store.

She said, “People tell others and they come and try what we have. Lots of people come with their recipes and ask ‘Can you help me find the right stuff?’”

Information about the store can be found on Facebook and Instagram: Fig Grocers (First Indian Grocer).

Or just walk through the door.

Readers Comments (1)

  1. Justin says:

    Fig Grocers is great! Amazing selection of Indian and South Asian ingredients hard to find elsewhere. The team there is always incredibly friendly and helpful. Proud to see a local family business thriving in Orangeville.


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