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Meet the Flockers: “There’s a lot of places in New West that can use some help.”

Leona Green recruits Foodie Flock members to visit Candy Alley as part of her latest effort to support local businesses

Leona Green is trying to spread the love around to other local businesses.

Green, co-owner of Greens and Beans Deli in Sapperton, began unleashing the Foodie Flock on local businesses in July as a way of supporting local businesses that could use a helping hand in recovering from the pandemic. She notes there are times at Greens and Beans that she doesn’t even look up from her work for two hours because she’s so busy.

“Other places aren't so lucky,” she said.

Green launched a private Foodie Flock group on Facebook, where she announces which local business will be visited by the flock. Akin to a flash mob, the flock shows up – unexpected – and dines or shops at local businesses.

On Sept. 15, a wee flock of four visited Candy Alley in the Shops at New West Station.

“I can’t believe I’m the Foodie Flock,” gushed Candy Alley owner Sheryl Laine.

Laine choked back tears as she told the flockers that she’s working hard – seven days a week – to build the shop back to the success it was experiencing before the pandemic hit.

“What I'm trying to do is help places that need help. Candy Alley, she struggled with the pandemic. She had to pay her rent for those two years,” Green said. “And I thought this would be a fun one.”

While there were only four flockers to the Candy Alley, Laine was thrilled to show folks around the colourful store that sells all sorts of candy – and more.

“I have 30 suppliers and I just curate, curate, curate to make a beautiful store,” she said.

Along with 54 different kinds of drinks – “all the different ones that the kids are coming in to get” – Candy Alley serves up retro and novelty candy, candy from Mexico, bulk candy, gift items and more.

“I decided that I wanted to make this store into a Willy Wonka wonderland of gifts and stuff,” Laine said. “I just got in Mr. Potato Head cookie jars. They are ceramic and they have moving pieces. I have Cookie Monster cookie jars.”

As much as she wants to support local businesses, Green is pondering whether to continue with the Foodie Flock – or whether it needs to be changed up to attract more flockers. She was pleased with the attendance at the inaugural “food flash mob” at Coming Home Coffee House, but had hoped for a larger turnout for August’s gathering at the Terminal Pub and September’s event at Candy Alley, given that more than 250 flockers are members of the private group on Facebook. (If interested in attending future Foodie Flock meetups, search for Foodie Flock – New Westminster on Facebook.)

“There's a lot of places in New West that can use some help, right?” she said.