For Chef Giulio finding a permanent home for the One Big Table co-op grocery store has been many years in the making. With a shared goal to make a difference within the community, One Big Table, in collaboration with the John Howard Society, can now do what it does best – provide the community with local food, every day of the week.

While Giulio began his food journey training in many kitchens, the real story begins with him quitting his job out of frustration with the food system. Secret dinners began as a passion project in early 2015 to bring food out of the restaurant and onto the kitchen table. Early collaboration and training along with feedback from his dinner guests led him to a vision of opening a store focused on bringing local food to the Okanagan. A successful crowdfunding campaign and membership drive was launched to support the vision.

One Big Table first joined Purppl’s Social Enterprise Acceleration (SEA) Program in October of 2016 with a plan in place to open the store. Mentors helped to refine the vision further and popup grocery stores launched as a minimum viable product (MVP) to test products, gain customer feedback, and add another revenue stream. The journey to a sustainable business model continued with launching Christmas baskets and an online store. Testing and feedback gathering continued by diversifying the locations and timing of the popup stores.

Like many social entrepreneurs, his journey consisted of several challenges that he faced before his initial idea of opening a store could be put into action. After testing the market for several months One Big Table is now ready to open a store in September that it can call home. Their new location will be converting the current One Cup at a Time cafe at 1440 St. Paul Street where they plan to continue to offer an employment training program for people with barriers to employment.

The story of One Big Table demonstrates that the journey of a social entrepreneur is a windy road. The power of community support, collaborations, and hard work have driven the early successes of OBT. Here’s a look at how Giulio got the idea for One Big Table and how its journey to opening a co-op grocery store has evolved over the years.

Purppl is a social enterprise accelerator that provides structured mentorship, training, and tools to help implement and scale revenue models. If you think our Social Enterprise Acceleration Program may be a fit for you, connect with us.

Cover image by: Barnett Photography

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