Kim Bialkoski, owner of both Preserve and flora & farmer, our own housemade line of preserves, fell in love with cooking as a child, and that love organically lead to an interest and investment in food security as she grew into an adult.
After many years working in the food industry, a serious bike accident changed her life and was the catalyst for her obsession with canning.
Working around her injuries, often preserving late into the night after her son went to bed, she developed the recipes you can still find on Preserve’s shelves.
Using her culinary creativity she was passionate to create “delightfully daring preserves” and attended her first farmers market where she sold nearly 200 jars and earned rave reviews from customers.
This support motivated her to officially begin flora & farmer, and after quickly outgrowing her home kitchen and years of renting commercial kitchens, the opportunity to build her own facility with a storefront was seized and opened in December 2018.
Recognizing the need for increased accessibility to local quality food, a desire for community connection, and with her own experiences and challenges as a small food producer, she gladly brought in other Manitoba made products from vendors she met over the years at farmers markets and craft sales, without the demands larger grocers place over them to aid in their success.
Mindful that the store would be so much more than her own preserves, calling it flora & farmer just didn’t fit the bill, and the name Preserve was born. A play on the word, the shop offers far more than spreads and pickles but seeks to “Preserve the local economy” with handmade foods and goods while cultivating relationships with customers and community.
Devote your dollars close to your heart & home, preserve your local economy, and cultivate a thriving community by supporting Manitoba-made goods.
The benefits of buying small and local are tremendous; Reducing environmental footprint, investing in a strong economy and tax base, greater employment rates and labour rights, and higher quality goods made by folks passionate about their product.
Locally owned companies both contribute to community charities more than national chains and are more likely to source materials within their own area, cycling even more strength into our neighbourhoods. It’s estimated that for every $100 spent locally, $68 circulates back into our own economy.
Take food sovereignty back into your own mouth!
Only a handful of grocery retailers control over 86% of the food we eat and only 10 mega-corporations own nearly every food brand on conventional grocery shelves- eating local moves control over from distant corporate boardrooms and back into your community. Shortening the food supply chain means greater food security, quality, and consideration for your needs and health.
Keeping our community healthy
The Covid-19 pandemic has changed our world in many ways, from the awareness that local businesses are loved, valued, and need continued support, to the generous outpouring from members of our communities in taking care of the most vulnerable and doing their best to keep others safe and healthy.
At Preserve, we are committed to our customers and staff health and well-being. The shop is sweet & petite, so we are continuing to implement mandatory masks as well as limiting customers to 2 couples/pals at a time (4 customers maximum). We continue to monitor case numbers and spread, and will adjust policies as necessary or as the situation becomes more comfortable. We encourage those wanting to limit contact to shop online for pickup or delivery.
What makes us different?
Local is more than a buzzword for us- it’s a passion, a creed, and a promise.
Every single item in our shop is Manitoba made so you’ll never have to question whether you’re supporting a local company with your purchase!
Our main focus is on food and grocery but we also carry a selection of quality, handmade housewares, unique and fun gifts and self care products.
We’re proud to help elevate and champion over 50 Manitoba companies, mostly woman-led and including queer & BIPOC owned.
Preserve is maker-owned, by the woman behind the jars from flora & farmer, who truly knows the hurdles of owning a small and growing business- we work within these limitations to sincerely support and champion the companies we carry- we understand that we’re not just selling products- we’re selling dreams of a better future.
More than just a grocery store, Preserve is also the production facility of our own house brand of artisanal preserves, flora & farmer, and customers are treated to a behind-the-scenes peek of the love going into those jars through the large window from our storefront.
At Preserve, you’re more than a consumer, you’re a citizen and a part of our community that we’d love to get to know better!
With a small, dedicated and caring team, as well as our owner regularly interacting with the clientele, you have an opportunity to voice any questions, concerns, or requests to eager ears, wanting to help shape your local shopping experience to be the best it can!
We know our products and communicate directly with the owners of every company we carry, to offer feedback and develop a supportive relationship beyond sales.
Located on the edge of our downtown food desert, reinvigorating our city, we provide a vibrant, welcoming and warm environment to keep your pantry in your province and your dinners diverse.
We have a couple parking options for you:
Outside of rush hour there’s free parking available on Portage Avenue, just in front of our neighbours Hildegard’s Bakery.
Preserve can be accessed through the bakery’s Portage Ave entry, just turn left through their cafe area and past the washrooms, and we’re right there, happy to see you!
Alternatively, we offer a few spots reserved for our customers on Maryland, just across and slightly south of our big shop windows. These are found in the lot between the Rexall/clinic and Tim Hortons, against the fence facing Maryland- just look for the signage on the fence.
For the car-free, there’s 3 bike racks located right outside our Maryland entry, graciously supplied by Winnipeg’s West End Biz, and bus stops on both streets right outside the shop.