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is not just a slogan, it’s our
Highland Farms Apple Orchard (Photograph by Stacey Bailey/Toronto Sun)

Over 40 years ago, Charles and Louie Coppa, two brothers who were making
inroads in the grocery retail business, embarked on a new vision – to offer
their customers the highest quality and freshness, backed by a commitment
to customer service and value that is second to none. Today, Highland Farms
operates five full-service supermarkets, offering everything you could possibly
need in a clean and friendly environment. Whether you're looking for fresh
produce, fresh meat and seafood, freshly baked goods, prepared foods, as well
as organic and natural alternatives, you will find it all at Highland Farms.
XX HIGHLAND FARMS The Sunday Sun ■ OCTOBER 17, 2010



Rita Demontis
shock came shortly afterwards
— the cold! And all the snow.
SUN Media It took us all by surprise."
Changing weather aside, life
moved at a quick pace for the
Coppas once they were all re-
By RITA DeMONTIS united. School came a week
National Food Editor after arriving — and Charles'
first job shortly afterward that,
There's a photo up on the hawking the Toronto Telegram
walls at Highland Farms' newspaper right in front of
corporate offices up in North Union Station.
York. "That was my first sentence
Nicely framed, it's your clas- in English — 'Get your Telly
sic black and white taken from here five cents!'" says Charles
the early 1950s, and it shows a with a laugh, delighted at the
group of people standing close memory.
together at an outdoor fruit Shortly afterwards came the
market. job that started his life into the
Second from the front is a grocery biz. "It was with Knob
sweet-faced young boy, all gan- Hill Farms, when the late Steve
gly arms and endearing smile Stavros had his fruit market on
that grabs your attention, Queen and Coxwell. It was a
makes you pause for a moment humble little store — and my
to take note of his spotless mother pushed me towards
white apron so obviously too him and said 'ask him for a job!'"
big for his slight yet elegant Stavros took a chance and
frame. hired him, throwing a huge
This is the image of the apron on his skinny little frame
young Charles Coppa who, and pointing him in the direc-
along with his brother Louis, tion of a box of fresh fruit.
are at the helm of the legendary Louis joined his big brother
Highland Farms supermarkets, shortly after that.
one of the most successful "So it started — we went to
chains of independent, award- school and we worked at the
winning grocers in Canada's grocery store." Asked if he ever
food industry. The photo was Charles Coppa is seen here in front, looking full of pride at his first job in the grocery business in the 1950s. missed out on all the things lit-
taken at the very first market tle boys do after school, like
Charles worked at, and the mother, Francesca … she was lives for themselves back in via Montreal and a numbing ter, one knows instinctively of playing road hockey or riding
look of joy, confidence and the driving force who guided 1950. 5,000 mile, 21-day journey the sacrifices this family faced their bikes in summer, Charles
pride is so tangible you can al- us to where we are now. She But the Coppas did not go that included train, ferry, in order to carve a brave new says — not really. "To be hon-
most reach into the photo and had amazing judgement and via the usual immigration transatlantic steamer and a life for themselves in Canada. est — you develop a passion
touch it. wisdom for all my brothers and routes favoured by the huge long railway ride to Toronto. it was quite the adventure for this work and it was excit-
Even in the face of such sisters, and she had great faith wave of Italians who headed Coupled with the fact that for the children — brothers ing meeting the customers and
youthful exuberance caught in in her children — as a mother out in the the children's parents, Gio- and sisters including nine-year- handling money at an early age.
that photo, one knows the love she knew what we needed, and 1950s vanni and Francesca Coppa, old Corrado (Charles) and "There was such a sense of
for this grocery business comes helped us get it." and 60s had left Italy ten months ear- seven-year-old Louis — but for accomplishment, even though
directly from the heart and soul The Highland Farms story is for a lier, leaving their their parents it was an agoniz- we were relatively young. I
of both Charles and Louis just as colourful as the rows new life in kids back home ing wait, culminating in a joy- guess we had a strong work
Coppa. upon rows of produce that Canada. with the ous reunion at Union Station ethic — I couldn't wait to get
"I guess you can say it's in grace the iconic stores. It No, the Coppa's with 40 relatives. to the grocery store and solve
our blood," says Charles with a started well before the Coppas t i n y oldest, "That was back in August, the problems, fill the orders
polite laugh, his eyes warm and left their beloved home in group married 1950 and I can remember it and meet the customers."
crinkly. "That — and our Pachino, Sicily to carve new came daugh- clearly," says Charles. "The And the work paid off.

3 99
2.3kg box

Fresh Clementines
Product of Morocco
49 ¢
Ontario Homegrown
Fresh Apples Macintosh or
Red Delicious Fancy Grade
99 ¢

Ontario Homegrown
Fresh Green Cabbage
No. 1 Grade
Ontario Homegrown
Fresh Tomatoes on the Vine
No. 1 Grade
Jumbo Size

Prices effective November 12th, 2010 to November 18th, 2010

The Sunday Sun ■ OCTOBER 17, 2010 HIGHLAND FARMS XX x


Eventually the boys had the
chance to purchase Stavros'
various charities and commu-
nity-building initiatives.
store, and with the help of fam- They've also been celebrated
ily, they became proud owners, by their peers — last year the
quickly renaming the store Canadian Federation of Inde-
Highland Farms and the rest, pendent Grocers (CFIG) hon-
as they say, is history. oured the two brothers with
The Coppas expanded from the prestigious Life Member
that single store to five loca- Designation — the highest ho-
tions. nour the CFIG can bestow.
"We bought the one on “The Life Member award
Queen St. W in the early 1960s was developed to recognize the
— I still remember the address, dedicated efforts of people like
1558 Queen St. W., and it was Charles and Louis Coppa, who
3,300 square-feet," said have become symbols of entre-
Charles. "Since then, we've preneurship in our industry,"
grown … From a handful of said John F.T. Scott, president
employees we know have and CEO of the CFIG.
around 800 working with us The Coppas have certainly
today." left their mark, notes Virginia
Adds Louis, "you go from Zimm, president of Faye Clack
3,300 to 180,000 square feet Communications, one of
— but you keep the same stan- Canada's most successful food
dards. Customers first, and al- marketing companies.
ways supply the best." "The Coppas are the original
And on any given day, you'll advocates for local. They have
find one of the Coppas — the always supported the local
seniors or their adult children grower when our Ontario
— in the stores, straightening bounty is in season. As well,
out produce, checking out the Highland Farms experience
stock, chatting with employees, goes beyond local. They have
patiently answering customer sourced some of the best pro-
requests and generally reveling duce, meat, cheese and breads
in the joy of their work. from the four corners of the
The Coppas are that won- world to satisfy their ethnically
derful combination of ingenu- diverse consumers," says
ity coupled with old-fashioned The Coppa brothers, Louie (left) and Charles (right), are seen here with the next generation of Coppas, Charles’ sons Michael and Zimm.
values — of the importance of John (far left and far right) and Louie’s son John (middle). (Photography by Stacey Bailey/Toronto Sun) Today, Charles doesn't make
building a solid foundation it down to the Terminal for
based on something as simple most influential food terminal. "The farmers always remem- Greenhouses up near Barrie. first met him and to this day I those brutal early morning vis-
as the integrity of a firm hand- Business with the Coppas bered the Coppas because of He first met Charles Coppa consider him and his children its, but his son John does, and
shake. was carried out in time-hon- this," says Frank Ferragine of at the terminal when he was like family. He is the truest def- the next generation of Coppas
Take our farmers, for in- oured fashion: trust and a gen- Citytv's Breakfast Television 12-years-old. And that friend- inition of a gentleman and if he continue in the roles that
stance. The stories of the Cop- tleman's handshake. Farmers fame. Ferragine grew up in his ship continues to this day. taught me one thing about the Charles and Louis first carved out.
pas and their relationship with have long memories, especially family's business, Bradford "I was 12-years-old when I business it's this: you work But — will they ever retire?
Ontario farmers is the stuff of when times are lean and no hard and an honest day will "It's our life and it's always
legend. From the moment they one would purchase their make you an honest dollar. His been our life," says Charles qui-
established their food com- goods at any price. With the and Louis' sons are living ex- etly, his brother Louis nodding
pany, both brothers set out to Coppas, you could go to the amples of this work ethic — thoughtfully by his side. "Quite
leave their mark — and the bank with their word and their this is a truly remarkable family." simply, we love the business
success would start right here handshake. In addition to supporting and dealing with the public …
in Toronto, at the famous On- The Coppas remembered the local growers, the Coppas it's something we want to do
tario Food Terminal on Park- the farmers and they, in turn, also give back to the commu- forever."
lawn Ave, considered Canada's never forgot them. nity as generous supporters of

2 99
Fresh Beef Boneless
Top Sirloin Roast Cut
From Canada AAA Grade Beef
3 99
Fresh Beef Boneless
Top Sirloin Steaks Cut
From Canada AAA Grade Beef
3 99
Fresh Extra Lean
Ground Sirloin Beef
ground beef
2 99
Piller’s Black Forest Ham
Freshly Sliced at the Deli
Product of Canada Product of Canada ground daily

Prices effective November 12th, 2010 to November 18th, 2010

XX HIGHLAND FARMS The Sunday Sun ■ OCTOBER 17, 2010


A HIGHER STANDARD OF FRESH about all the different companies

we dealt with, and the dozens
of different types of hams and
sausages and cheeses. Then it
was on to seafood,” he laughs.
For all three, carrying on the
family business is a huge source
of pride, and the hard work well
worth it.
BY M.J. JAFFRAY “We all go pretty hard,” he
Special to Sun Media adds. “But at the same time, we
enjoy it. Is it work? I don’t
When they opened their first know, you tell me!”
Highland Farms location in “It’s challenging, for sure,”
1963 on Toronto’s Queen Street, says Charles’ son John, who is
brothers Charles Coppa and responsible for bringing the best
Louie Coppa were convinced and freshest produce available
that their success in the grocery to all five stores. “But I enjoy
retail business would hinge on working with my family towards
their commitment to offering the a common goal of helping the
highest quality, freshness and business to succeed.”
value in an atmosphere of total “We learned my father’s and
customer service. uncle’s values just with everyday
Turns out they were right. experience,” Michael says. “We
Today, their vision is still clearly saw how they interacted with
reflected in five full-service customers and employees and
supermarkets where the second they taught us the right way to
generation of the Coppa family do things. Customer service and
is now hard at work maintaining always having fresh product at
the high standards and work the right price was instilled in
ethic that were set forth by their us right from the beginning, so
hard-working father and uncle. these things have always
Charles Coppa’s two sons, remained our top priority, too.”
Michael and John, are responsible
for grocery purchasing and for
sourcing the best and What makes Highland
freshest produce, while Louie Farms stand out in
Coppa’s son — also named John the crowd?
— looks after the busy deli,
meat, seafood and bakery
departments. “Service and variety,” Louie’s
While each is responsible for son John answers immediately.
different areas of the Highland “You can pretty much find
Farms operation, all three anything that’s out there, right
share in common the same here. For example, our deli
commitment to the values that carries over 100 different
were instilled in them from their varieties of cheeses from all
early teens, when they all around the world. There’s no
worked part-time in the need to go elsewhere.”
summers to learn the business “I think we stand out because
from the ground up. it all. After university, we all Grade AAA beef behind the we can offer our customers
“My two cousins and came back and settled into our counter. the competitive pricing of larger
I worked our way through different areas.” “I also learned from both my stores with the added value of
all the various departments,” He found his niche in the dad and my uncle about the very high customer service,
says Louie’s son John. “We meat department, where he purchasing side of the cleanliness and quality
swept out the trucks and learned how to butcher and business, and then went to the products,” says Michael along
carried out groceries — we did serve Highland Farms’ Canada deli to learn from my father with his brother and cousin,

3 99
Purex 2x Ultra
Laundry Detergent
Assorted Varieties
3 99
Hellmann’s Mayonnaise
Regular & Light

Primo Pasta Assorted

Regular Cuts 900g
Nestle Pure Life
Natural Spring Water
or Thick and Zesty
Pasta Sauce 680mL

Prices effective November 12th, 2010 to November 18th, 2010

The Sunday Sun ■ OCTOBER 17, 2010 HIGHLAND FARMS XX x


Highland Farms is known for their freshness, both in their meats and their produce. (Photograph by Stacey Bailey/Toronto Sun)
who is responsible for day-to- needs. For example, they offer
day store operations as well as one of the largest selections
grocery buying. “We’ve carved
out a niche for ourselves, and it’s
our job to keep that going.”
“We’ve carved out a niche for ourselves …” of gluten-free products in
Toronto, and fresh sushi
is available.
“Something that we all really “We also offer our customers
believe in is service ,” adds John. “When you’re around it all the as much as possible, long farmers for 47 years,” he says and should, support them by a very large variety of organic
“Our meat and deli departments time, you start doing it,” he before “buy local” became a with a smile. “They developed buying local produce in season produce,” John adds. “Buying
are full service, seven days a notes. “You believe in it. They’re popular phrase. relationships with them by going whenever possible. I still deal with on a daily basis allows us to be
week. We slice custom orders to very proud of what they do and “My father to the terminal every morning. many of the growers that they in the market and take
whatever specs the customer how they do it. Every great store and uncle They decided very early bought from.” advantage of price changes as
wants, on the spot. This ensures has great employees.” have been on that they While the old-fashioned they happen. By being there
that nothing is cut earlier in the When he was still a boy, supporting could, cornerstones of service, quality, every day, we can also pick up
morning, or yesterday. It’s the Charles’ son John remembers Ontario’s variety and freshness have new products as soon as
freshest product they’re going to going to the bustling Ontario remained the same since they arrive.”
get anywhere.” Food Terminal with his father Highland Farms opened its And that’s Highland Farms
The company culture is also to select fresh-picked produce. doors, the Coppas also recognize in a nutshell: keeping things
instilled in every employee who Highland Farms has always the importance of keeping pace fresh every day, in more ways
works at Highland Farms. bought from local farmers with their customers’ changing than one.

European Meat Antipasto Platter Grilled Vegetables International
Platter Platter Olives Platter

Prices effective November 12th, 2010 to November 18th, 2010

XX HIGHLAND FARMS The Sunday Sun ■ OCTOBER 17, 2010



when they opened their first su-
perstore in Scarborough.
“That store was the culmina-
BY M.J. JAFFRAY tion of all of the things we had
Special to Sun Media learned during our first 20 years
in the business, and how we
When asked about their select wanted to apply those ideas in
private-label Country Kitchen what was really the largest
products, Highland Farms supermarket in Scarborough at
co-founder Charles Coppa that time. We opened a 65,000
quickly sums it up: “Our name square-foot store when regular
is on them, and we take a lot of grocery stores were about half
pride in that. We stand behind that size. And we offered some-
all of our products, of course, thing different: even though our
but when our customers see the store was big, it was still a
Highland Farms Country full-service supermarket.”
Kitchen label, they know they The grocery retail business
are buying quality at a compet- has changed over the years, and
itive price.” Coppa says he expects it will
The product line includes keep on changing.
items such as meat or vegetable “There will always be new
lasagna, veal and three-cheese competitors coming into the
cannelloni, pies, pasta sauce, marketplace, but our commitment
butter, extra virgin olive oil, to our customers, the quality
sliced bread and baguettes. and the service and the compet-
Coppa says the Country itive prices that we’re able to
Kitchen store brand reflects the offer because of our size – these
values that have always been things will never change. For
part of Highland Farms. these reasons, we feel strongly
“Even though our stores are that we are unique.
quite large, the difference at Our customers know what to
Highland Farms is the commit- expect. Whether they come into
ment of a family operation. our store on Monday at 9 a.m.,
There is a part of us in every or late Saturday afternoon, they
store. When we go out and know that they will see the same
choose the produce or products high-quality presentation and
that we sell, of course we’re receive total service in every
shopping for our customers, but department. This is what sets us
we’re also shopping with our apart.”
family name in mind, for what Coppa says the Country
we believe is the best quality Kitchen product line has
available, on an ongoing basis.” evolved over the last 20 years,
Coppa and his brother Louie and is not the same as typical
Coppa came to Canada in 1950, no-name products which
and after a few years of hands- emphasize the lowest price.
on learning in the grocery “We wanted to offer our
business working in an open- customers even more variety
air food market, decided to start through a line of exclusive products
up their own store in downtown that are just a bit different from
(Photograph by Stacey Bailey/Toronto Sun)

Toronto and do things their our regular shelf items.

own way. Although they are competitively
“We knew within a short priced, our customers know
period of time that that’s what when they buy Country Kitchen
we wanted to do. It was just a products, they are buying the
natural fit for us,” he says. high quality that has always
In 1983, the two brothers been a family tradition at
were well ahead of their time Highland Farms.”

4 99
1L jar

Highland Farms Country

Kitchen Pasta Sauce
Assorted Varieties
Highland Farms
Country Kitchen
Lasagna Meat, Cheese
1 99
Blue Diamond Almond Breeze
Non Dairy Beverage
Assorted Varieties
5 99
Nature’s Path
Eco Pack Cereal
Assorted Varieties

Prices effective November 12th, 2010 to November 18th, 2010

The Sunday Sun ■ OCTOBER 17, 2010 HIGHLAND FARMS XX x


Charles is also well-known for his apples, which he grows in his orchard and proudly displays here at market. Louie Coppa admires his store’s selection of premium vine-ripened tomatoes.
(Photograph shot by Stacey Bailey/Toronto Sun) (Photograph shot by Stacey Bailey/Toronto Sun)
A Canadian success story: Charles and Louie Coppa Coppa’s tomatoes the talk of the town
Last year, in acknowledgement of their entrepreneurial spirit and strong support of the independent One of the biggest sellers at Highland Farms is the tomatoes. “We bring in tomatoes fresh every day,”
grocer community, the Coppa brothers received the prestigious Life Member Designation from the says Louie Coppa. “People know when they come to Highland Farms, they’re getting only the very
Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers. The Coppas are also longtime philanthropists who support best. Fresh sells, and our tomatoes are proof of our recipe for success.”
a large number of charitable initiatives, community building projects, Toronto-area hospitals and At special times during the year, Highland Farms also sources the unique Pachino tomato from
fundraising galas. Italy, which people come to the store for in droves and often purchase several pounds at a time.

Make mine panettone

Grocery buyer Michael Coppa says that Highland Farms is now stocking up with a huge variety of spe-
cialty products for the holidays, including ever-popular panettone, an Italian sweet bread filled with
fruits such as candied orange, citron, lemon zest, as well as raisins which are added dry and not soaked.
“It would be hard to find another store that has the selection that we bring in,” he says. “We are
working with our importers to have hundreds of varieties on hand, many of them direct from Italy.”
In Italy, they are so devoted to this special sweet bread that efforts are even underway to obtain
Protected Designation of Origin and Denominazione di origine controllata status for this product, clas-
sifications currently enjoyed by such prized exports as wine and extra virgin olive oil.
Panettone is served in slices, vertically cut, accompanied with sweet hot beverages or a
sweet wine. Enjoy it for dessert, afternoon tea, or breakfast.

3 99
box of 100’s

Lipton Yellow Label

or Green Tea
4 99
7kg pail

Maxx Scoop
Cat Litter
4 198g box

Heinz, Frozen Bagel Bites

Assorted Varieties
5 99
908g box

Schneider’s Classic Favourites

Chicken Nuggets, Fingerlings
or Burgers

Prices effective November 12th, 2010 to November 18th, 2010

XX HIGHLAND FARMS The Sunday Sun ■ OCTOBER 17, 2010


MAKE IT FRESH. Sicilian Cannoli Spaghetti with Pachino Ciliegino Sicilian Cassata Directions:
These delicious little treats look Tomatoes This elegant and easy-to-create Combine ricotta, sugar and
like you've spent hours in the The pachino cilieginos are a spe- dessert is a nod to the Coppas vanilla in a food processor or
kitchen — yet you can assemble cial cherry tomato that hails from Sicilian roots, where desserts are blender until smooth. Transfer
them in minutes with store- sicily and is a favourite in the legendary — as is the following to a bowl and fold in crushed
bought cannoli pastry shells Coppa kitchen. They are ab- recipe, too! cookies and lemon zest. In
available in Highland Farms' solutely delicious, so when you another bowl, combine liqueur
bakery department. see them, definitely stock up. If Ingredients: and orange juice.
they are not available, substitute 1 lb. (450g) fresh ricotta cheese Cut cake horizontally into
Ingredients: cherry tomatoes on the vine. 1/4 cup (60ml) sugar four layers. Place bottom layer
1 lb. (450g) fresh ricotta cheese 1 tsp. (5ml) pure vanilla on a serving dish and brush with
1/4 cup (60ml) sugar Ingredients: 1/2 package amaretto cookies, 1/4 liqueur mixture. Spread with
1 tsp. (5ml) pure vanilla 5 Tbsp. (75ml) extra virgin olive crushed 1/3 cheese mixture. Top with
3 tbsp. (45ml) Marsala wine oil (Country Kitchen brand rec- 1 tsp. (5ml) lemon zest, grated next cake layer and repeat with
1/4 cup (50ml) EACH candied ommended) 1/3 cup (75ml) Frangelico liqueur remaining cake slices, liqueur
citrus zest and mixed candied 2 cloves garlic, finely minced 2 tbsp. (30g) orange juice and cheese mixtures, reserving
fruit, all finely chopped 1 Tbsp. (15ml) fresh mint, 1 lb. (450g) frozen pound cake 1/4 of liqueur to brush over top
Store-bought cannoli pastry shells. chopped Plastic wrap of cake.
Powdered sugar 2 tsp. (10ml) dried basil Powered sugar Wrap with plastic wrap and
1 lb. (500g) pachino ciliegino refrigerate until serving time. Cut
Directions: Tomatoes into thin slices and serve dusted
Drain as much water from ricotta 1/4 cup (50ml) dry white wine with powdered sugar. Serves 6.
Highland Farms’ Apple Crisp walnuts, lightly toasted as possible (strain overnight in Salt/pepper, to taste
One place where Charles Coppa 1/3 cup (75ml) sweet butter a strainer lined with paper towels 1 lb. (500g) dry spaghetti
loves to walk and reflect is his over a large bowl.) Slivered toasted almonds (optional)
stunning apple orchard, where Directions: Remove ricotta from fridge
you'll find a large selection of Toss apple slices with lemon and blend in sugar, vanilla and Directions:
Ontario's top apples. Here's a juice and zest and vanilla and Marsala wine. Gently fold in candied In a large fry pan heat olive oil
recipe to celebrate this beloved fruit! arrange in an eight-cup (1L) fruit and citrus zest. Using a and saute garlic until aromatic.
baking dish that has been small spoon or pastry bag, fill Add herbs and pachino ciliegino
Ingredients: sprayed with cooking spray. In both ends of pastry shells. Place (whole) Saute in low to medium
6 apples (McIntosh, Crispin or a mixing bowl, combine rolled on decorative plate and sprinkle heat until tomatoes pucker. Pour
Idared) sliced oats, brown sugar, flour, spices powdered sugar over cannoli. in white wine and reduce.
and walnuts. Cut in butter until

(Photograph by Stacey Bailey/Toronto Sun)

Juice and zest from half a lemon Makes about 18 small or 12 Season with salt and pepper.
1 tsp. (5ml) vanilla crumbly. Sprinkle topping over large cannoli. Meanwhile cook pasta in a pot
1/2 cup (125ml) rolled oats apples. Bake at 350F (180C) of salted, boiling water until al
1/2 cup (125ml) dark brown sugar until apples are tender and dente, per package instructions.
1/2 cup (125ml) all-purpose flour topping is lightly browned, Drain and add to fry pan with
1 tsp. (5ml) cinnamon about 35 minutes. Serve with mixture. Toss to coat evenly and
1/2 tsp. (2.5ml) nutmeg vanilla ice cream or freshly sprinkle with slivered almonds,
1/2 tsp. (2.5ml) ground ginger whipped cream. Serves 4. Serves 4.
1/2 cup (125ml) chopped

416.736.6606 416.298.1999 416.282.5759 905.501.9910 905.303.3999

3 99
case of
12x355ml cans
Coke, Sprite &
Canada Dry Soft Drinks
Regular & Diet
2 69
1.66-1.89L tub

Breyers Classic Ice Cream

Assorted Varieties
650g tub

Smooth’n Fruity Yogurt

Assorted Varieties
675g loaf

Wonder Enriched Sliced White Bread

Prices effective November 12th, 2010 to November 18th, 2010