‘It’s kind of more of an old fashioned-style business,’ says fruit stand owner.
Owner Bruce Reid and his mother Fran Reid are pictured at their store Bob’s Fruit Stand in North Vancouver, B.C. (Ben Nelms/CBC)
In North Vancouver’s Delbrook neighbourhood, Bob’s Fruit Stand is still standing. From May until the fall, the stand sells fresh fruit and veggies, many of which are from local B.C. farms.
If you visit Bob’s, you’ll find heirloom tomatoes from Keremeos, nectarines and plums from Summerland, peas and beans from Richmond and blueberries from the Fraser Valley. The blueberries are so popular, the fruit stand sells over 200 pounds per day.
It all started in the late 1970s, when Bob Reid, a retired police officer, started selling fruit out of his van. He felt there was a particular need for fresh produce in North Vancouver.
Bob’s Fruit Stand has been standing in North Vancouver since the 1970s, whether as a van business, or a store front. (Ben Nelms/CBC)
Since 1991, Bob’s Fruit Stand has stayed rooted in Delbrook Plaza. Nowadays, Bob’s son, Bruce Reid, runs the business, and Fran Reid, who was married to Bob for 50 years before he died of cancer in 2006, still comes to work in the mornings. She is nearly 90.
“He was a good guy … he always told his workers to try the fruit so [they] can tell people how good it tastes,” Fran Reid said of her late husband. “When he died, one little girl said, ‘I’ve never seen a boss like that.“
STILL STANDING A house of tiny treasures survives the decades in North Vancouver Long-time customer Keith Reynolds has been pickling for 30 years and visits Bob’s at least three times a week. He’s bought veggies to pickle at home from the fruit stand for at least 25 years.
“I made five quarts of dills yesterday, but I’ve decided I might need another quart or two.”
So, why not just buy jars of pickles instead of going through all that trouble?
“Mine taste better,” Reynolds said. “That and the fact that it’s my mother’s recipe.”
Keith Reynolds shops at Bob’s Fruit Stand for produce to pickle. He uses his mother’s recipe. (Ben Nelms/CBC)
Reynolds makes spicy dill pickled beans and pickled beets, among many other types of pickles.
“[Bruce] brings in stuff that’s just extraordinary quality. He goes out and he finds really good produce and he just really makes sure that his customers get the very best stuff that you can get,” Reynolds said.
Katie Morris, a recent high school graduate who has worked at the stand for three summers, is also a big fan of the produce. She says she can’t help but eat fruit all day when she’s on the job — especially the blueberries and raspberries.
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But it’s not just the food that keeps her coming back.
“It’s really fun … it’s nice to see the regular customers coming in,” said
Carrying on the family tradition
Bruce Reid has worked at Bob’s Fruit Stand since 1995.
“It’s kind of more of an old fashioned-style business and I think maybe people like that. It’s kind of nostalgic … a throwback maybe. Not a big box store,” Reid said.
Katy Morris stocks fruit during her shift at Bob’s Fruit Stand. She has worked there for three summers. (Ben Nelms/CBC)
He says the stand was busier 20 years ago. Now there is a lot more competition in North Vancouver, especially from chain stores Whole Foods and Thrifties.
But still, Reid says competition hasn’t killed business, likely because they bring in fresh produce each day.