Quality over quantity G.J. Andrews gourmet groceteria and wine shop is where shopping doesn’t feel like a chore
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With over 2,000 specialty items from around the world, G.J. Andrews, a gourmet grocer and wine shop that’s been in business for 35 years, is a place to discover products you may not know existed, especially if you consider yourself a foodie.
Originally known as Stephen and Andrews, and located at Stafford and Grosvenor, the shop was owned and operated by George Andrews and his sister. When she left Manitoba, he bought her out and G.J. Andrews was born.
At 384 Academy Road since 1997, customers from all over the city and province appreciate the unique inventory and make a point of coming in for the always-expanding selection and fascinating finds.
Knowing George Andrews and his attention to detail and work ethic, when Roger Belton found out that he was opening a store, he was one of his first customers.
“I don’t know what I’d do without it. G.J. Andrews is not on my street corner, but I feel it is my ‘corner store,’” Belton, who lives in St. Vital, said.
”George and his wonderful staff create a very personal atmosphere. I know all the staff and they know me and make sure that I’m aware of new offerings, as well as the old favourites. I’m there almost every day, ‘shopping like a Brit’ to make my meals and entertaining guests interesting and always delicious. When my younger daughter returned to Canada from Germany and we held a wedding celebration event to acknowledge her marriage overseas, it was food and drink from G.J. Andrews that drew rave reviews and made the evening extra special. … there’s no other store like it in Winnipeg.”
Andrews takes pride in the staff of 16, who help him run the shop.
“My butcher worked with me for 22 years. My bookkeeper has been with me 33 years, my manager has been with me 15 years, a fellow in the butcher shop has been with us 17 years. You want that, you want to treat people fairly, to have loyalty and friendship. That’s what the customers see and appreciate. I still love it; I still enjoy it. Those stories of relationships, that’s what small business is made of,” Andrews said.
Right from the outset, it was important to Andrews to give the customers what they wanted.
“We started with that process. We started filling the store with what customers want, and it has worked beautifully. We do that all the time. We do carry more gluten-free products, some vegan products, and we keep adding to that as we go along.”
G.J. Andrews boasts an inventory that ranges from kafir lime leaves, pickled walnuts, and the most exclusive well-aged meats, to over 100 mustards, relishes and chutneys; over 60 different barbecue sauces; over 110 oils; vinegars and salad dressings; 30 dessert toppings; 25 curry pastes and sauces; over 150 jams and marmalades; and a wide array of imported cheeses, patés and Belgian chocolates. There are also over 800 wines from all over the world to choose from, to pair with favourite foods.
The shop emphasizes quality over chemically loaded foods.
“I believe in eating well,” said Andrews. “We don’t carry Cheese Whiz; we have a massive selection of imported cheese. They’re not full of dyes and chemicals and preservatives. We buy either minimal preservatives or none. It’s just healthy product. It’s about what you’re putting into your body. Eat well, and take care of yourself, we want to help people do that.”
”We started filling the store with what customers want, and it has worked beautifully….We try and do things that are extras to what you’ll find somewhere else.”–George Andrews, owner of G.J. Andrews
The butcher shop offers Canadian grain-fed Premium AAA and Prime grades only. Choice cuts of New York Strips, Ribeyes, T-Bones, Fillets and Prime Ribs, top quality ham, pork tenderloin, turkey, chicken, lamb, and an extensive variety of in-house-made gourmet burgers and sausages are available; all of it without chemicals, additives, or preservatives.
For those with a more adventurous palette, there’s wild game, alligator, wagyu beef from Japan and caviar from the Maritimes.
For the benefit of busy people likewise looking for healthy meal options, the shop carries a huge number of soups, sauces, prepared foods, and ready-to-go meals.
“We try and do things that are extras to what you’ll find somewhere else. You’ve got to carve out your own niche.”
Additionally, the shop offers a variety of services including gift baskets or bags, catering for any occasion with wine for functions, events, or restaurants, and will ship anywhere.
“I have a passion for it. It’s a wonderful place to work,” Andrews said, noting the shop’s strong connection with community service, and fundraising for local organizations. “We continue to be involved. The community is good to you. You always be good to the community; you always appreciate what you’ve got and enjoy it.”
G.J. Andrews’ focus is to offer the public a shop with something a little extra or different this festive season and year-round, whether for gifts or stocking stuffers, there’s no shortage of ideas at the shop. In fact, there’s a feast of all things savoury and sweet.
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