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Through the generations at Burns Bulk Food

By Robin Van Der Vleuten

Burns Bulk Food is a third-generation, family-owned business in Lindsay, Ontario, providing top-quality bulk foods. Reese Burns, current owner, proudly explains the history of Burns Bulk Food and its importance to their family. “My grandfather, Dave Burns, worked at Dominion stores in Lindsay and Cobourg. After a while, he was ready to take that knowledge and start his own business. In 1985, he bought Country Call, a pre-existing business in Lindsay Square, which was struggling. He ran it for a few years. In 1992, he had an opportunity to move onto Kent St. He did and changed the name to Burns Bulk Food.”

Each generation worked in this store. Reese’s father, Dan and his Aunt Jackie worked there during high school. Later, his aunt moved away, but his dad stayed behind and became the manager. In 2010, his dad bought the place from Reese’s grandfather. He ran the business for ten years until he got sick in 2020. At this time, Reese was starting a business management course at Fleming College. His father's health was declining, so Reese decided to quit college and go and work at the store full-time and a year later, Dan Burns passed away. Reese's grandparents had experience running the family business, so they bought back the store from Reese's mom, Megan. The long-term plan was always for Reese to take over the business one day. So, Reese gladly took a managerial role to learn the business, sharing the role and responsibilities with their current manager.

Reese is proud to say Three Generations created Burns Bulk Food. Small-town family values were passed down from his grandfather to his father. Reese wants to reflect those values and family history in the building. “There were three generations of family history here. We want to stay the course, not make radical changes and double down on what we are good at and known for. Our goal is to look backwards. People coming in from Toronto and parts outside are leaving the big city ‘hustle and bustle’ behind. People are moving here because they like what we offer, and we want to capture that with our store.”

The vision for Burns Bulk Food is to have an old-fashioned, candy-type persona with modern amenities and old farm equipment and antiques displayed around the store. “We are going for the old country store look and feel, so when we renovate, we will double down on that.” Stated Reese. As the town of Lindsay expands, Reese wants to attract newcomers, not only to the store, but to the downtown in general. “There is a big push from downtown businesses to attract newcomers and let them see what we offer.” Excited to be taking on the role as third generation owner, Reese would like to give special recognition to his grandparents for holding on to the business until he was ready and to his mom for helping him along the way.

Burns Bulk Food Grand Opening is on June 27th, when many stores will be open late.

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