Pirri's Is Here

An article announcing Pirri's in Niagara Falls by Nancy Reynolds, Niagara Falls Review on August 3, 1983


Do you yearn for bee pollen --- oil of evening primrose --- or linden flowers? These and countless other unusual or very basic nutritional elements can be found in Niagara Falls newest supermarket --- Pirri’s Natural Foods Emporium --- on Lundy’s Lane behind McDonalds.

pirri's natural food emporium niagara falls 1983
Bins and bins of dried fruits, vegetables and nuts greet shoppers at Pirri’s Natural Foods Emporium on Lundy’s L.ane. The store was formerly a Sporting Goods store and has been transformed into a

Natural Food & Bulk Food Supermarket

And supermarket it is. Bulk and pre-packaged foods, medications, vitamins and cosmetics can be found here in great variety, and there is a wealth of learning possible there too.

For the allergy sufferer the store is a heaven. For health food enthusiast it is a Mecca. For someone who just wants to try something different the store has potential.

Paul Flachs, assistant store manager, said owners believe the store is one of the largest of its kind in North America. After a late June opening business is booming.

The store has been designed to keep noise to a minimum and there is an aura of peace engendered by carpeted floors, many, many hanging plants and tubs of palms.

You can browse indefinitely without being bothered and the colourful foods in their bulk bins, with packaged goods on shelves, provide warmth and eye appeal.


For campers or people with limited storage there are plenty of dehydrated vegetables and fruits. Green beans, carrots, diced beets, mixed vegetables, turnips, mushrooms, potatoes, parsnips and peas are just some of the vegetables which can be taken travelling safely without refrigeration. No salt has been added and they cook in broth, water, brandy or juice in 10 to 15 minutes. Because they are light and lack bulk they make great travelling companions, and terrific soup.

Freeze dried chives --- spinach, tomato and carrot powders, add zest to your cooking. There are even natural juice crystals if you would rather drink your vegetables.

Nuts of all kinds, shelled or not, seeds, all without salt, are available in bulk so you can buy as much or as little as your family needs. Pure almond paste, or the more familiar reduced paste, are also sold in bulk.

You can buy mixtures of dried fruits, nuts and seeds or buy only the things you like to mix or eat alone. Even melon cubes can be found with dried apricots, apples, pineapple, pears and peaches.  

All kinds of raisins, Greek, Turkish, Australian, and figs --- calimyrna and black mission await you and all kinds of dates, papaya and mango slices, keeping company with prunes and less exotic fruits.

Fruit leathers and candy, made with yogurt and carob, are treats for young and old. Eight kinds of coconut in bulk are available with rice cakes of many kinds, and natural crackers featuring sesame seeds, rye, wheat and other flours. (I counted 19 kinds of flour).

If peanut butter is your passion, it is found fresh made, but there is cashew, sesame, almond and apple butter to try too.

Oil need not be olive or corn. You can try avocado, sesame, coconut, almond, soy or sunflower oils.

There are natural vinegars and salad dressings of natural ingredients and no surprises. Barley malt, sorghum, honeys, Demerara and raw sugar, coconut milk, were noteworthy, and you can mix your own breakfast food by buying cereals in bulk.

For those who can’t tolerate food additives there are many pure bulk foods. For the salt free diet, there are sodium-free products and for those who can’t live with gluten there are cake mixes without it, and pudding mixes too.

Make your own couscous or pilaf of rice --- ingredients are there.

Natural ice cream is available and fruit nectars to reduce independence on commercial products with additives such as aspartame and sugars you may not need.

There are bins and bins of spices, some familiar and many with exotic names and uses. Dulse leaves, mistletoe herb and linden flowers were there, with “eyebright” herb.

About 15 varieties of dried beans, as many peas await the cook who serves protein from vegetable sources.

Vetzna Hermoso has been working on cash in the store since its opening and she says she has learned an awful lot from customers.

“Some of the products were just names to me,” she said. “People are willing to tell you why they buy them and how they use them.”

Many elderly people are thrilled to find something they remember from their mother’s pantry.

You can buy rennet to create milk products, which can be very easily digested, and goat’s milk if your allergy forbids cow’s milk. Pirri’s sell rennet free cheese for those who have an allergy to rennet.

There was one product a complete mystery. What do you do with corn silk?


Kevin Lewis is the store’s authority on nutritional supplements, vitamins and skin care preparations and he has his own part of the store.

You can have your skin analyzed and a “Mini Facial” there if you like. Rainwater shampoo, “natural toothpaste”, the Bee Pollen “flavoured by many Olympic athletes for its nutritional boost”, and many of the aloe and jojoba products can be found

We try to help people develop a practical understanding of nutrition and an awareness of empty calories,” Kevin said.

He will take the time to tell you of various preparations that can assist you with your health challenges.

Oil of Evening Primrose oil provides essential fatty acids if you have depleted yours by too long and too low-fat dieting.  There are vitamins buffered with herbs to assist the body to assimilate the vitamin, and such things as Vitamin C from rose hips, high nutrient forms of yeast, and algae. If you’re jaded there are summer pick-me-ups of herbal nature and these are sought after, Mr. Lewis says.

There is too much to describe, too much to sample to do justice to this store in any story. You must see this store to understand. Mr. Vito Pirri has three bulk food stores in St. Catharines, Staff says, and the future looks bright.


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