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Eat & Drink

Fruitland Opening Raises Stakes in Battle for Danforth Fruit Stand Supremacy

Posted by Rick McGinnis / September 17, 2009

Danforth FruitOn a Greektown street corner, three fruit stands fight for business as the bounty of the fall harvest hits the market, all apparently thriving in defiance of what a basic business class would teach us about competition and proximity. Until a few months ago, Fruit King and Valley Farm battled for the same customers across Danforth at Logan Avenue, but when a third stand, Fruitland, set up right next door to Valley Farm, it raised the question as to whether or not the street was apparently able to support the same richness in fruit and veg sellers that it boasts in souvlaki joints.

Fruit KingMay Su, the owner of Valley Farm, says she welcomes the competition, and insists that it's "good for all of us." She's run the business for almost 5 years, and says that "people see the different quality" in her produce. Ronald Tran is the manager of Fruit King, in business since 1990 on the opposite corner, but he's across the street at Fruitland, next to Su's store, when I talk to him, as both stands are owned by the same family.

FruitIt turns out that a running dispute with the landlord of Fruit King's building prompted the family to take the lease on the storefront next to Valley Farm, as insurance that they'll have a spot on the apparently successful corner no matter what happens. The landlord wants to put up a 4 storey apartment building, but troubles with zoning on the tightly regulated Danforth strip could mean he'll be tied up for three more years before anything happens, Tran speculates.

"This is nothing compared to 20 years ago," Tran says, when there were 9 fruit stands just a few doors from each other near Logan. He recalls names like Sunkist, and that they were open 24 hours a day, but now there are just five in the same stretch, including the trio at Logan.

Fruit PricesPushing a stroller as she leaves Su's shop, Anna says that she "almost always goes to Valley Farms." A local, she feels loyal to the shop, and felt bad when Fruitland opened, but admits that she does comparison shop between the two stores.

Across the street, Julie and Jonathan leave Fruit King, Jonathan holding two leafy stalks loaded with Brussels sprouts. She says that they don't have any particular loyalty, and go where things look freshest, but he says that "it's weird that they're owned by the same people," nodding toward Fruitland across the street, "because the produce and the prices are usually different."



Leesa Barnes / September 17, 2009 at 12:31 pm
Fruit King is the one that's been in the neighborhood the longest. Then, Valley Farm opened about 6-years ago on the north west corner of Danforth & Logan. I thought that was weird. The prices were the same, the only difference is that Fruit King had more selection.

Now, a third one? Utterly crazy. I'll tell you what will make the third the leader - customer service. The customer service at the other 2 are just awful. I don't think any of them speak English and if it weren't for the low prices, I wouldn't shop at either of them.

The 3rd one can set themselves apart if they have better customer service. I'm not talking superior, roll out the read carpet, type of customer service. I mean, a smile, maybe knowing my name, things like. I guarantee that if the 3rd one does that, they'll knock the socks off the other 2 in just 12-short months.

But then again, if I'm reading the article properly, the family of one of the existing stores owns the new location. So, nothing will change (**sigh**)
mehh / September 17, 2009 at 12:37 pm
whoooooooo cares

there are 47 fruit and veggie stands crammed into Kensington Market

they all survive
Arleigh / September 17, 2009 at 12:45 pm
By locating close together they can attract more people to the corner. Then they can battle it out on price and quality for the actual purchases. More stores increases people's perception that they will find what they are looking for. I remember from urban geography that this is pretty basic when retailers look to locate. We lived near that corner from 1994 - 1998 and my perceptions was that produce stores (and grocery stores and butchers) were being pushed out by upscale housewares and fashion stores so I am glad to see them coming back.
W. K. Lis / September 17, 2009 at 01:02 pm
Wonder if the same will happen with the TOD that the city wants along the avenues or LRT lines coming up in the years to come. Or will only chain stores be the only ones allowed in by the developers.
Jonathan replying to a comment from mehh / September 17, 2009 at 03:11 pm
"whoooooooo cares

there are 47 fruit and veggie stands crammed into Kensington Market

they all survive"

I can count four. One went out of business a few months back.
That means there's one more in all of Kensington than on this corner.
Meh / September 17, 2009 at 03:25 pm
People only care about the Danforth on the second weekend in August every year when they have their silly little "taste of.." crap.
Some fruit stand aint making no difference.
Lune / September 17, 2009 at 03:38 pm
I used to go to Valley Farm all the time ... North side of the Danforth, I think, has generally better traffic and it was more convenient for me than the South side. When Fruitland came next of the Valley Farm, I didn't support it because I felt it was "in your face" a little. Anyhow, then I moved to Danforth x Woodbine area, and there's nothing like them around! I hope they stagger a bit, so they don't have to suffer each other and have better business opportunities ...
fruitstandssuck / September 17, 2009 at 04:55 pm
this is probably the most pointless review I've ever read.

most of the fruit and veggies at those stands are imported from Mexico and Cali anyways. i won't even get into the inaccuracy of the signage (most of the stuff is NOT from Ontario!!)

i'd rather go to no-frills.
... no jumbo strollers being pushed by barely moving, bored moms rolling over your toes.
LJ / September 18, 2009 at 08:44 am
thanks for the wikipedia link for the word "competition", I had no clue what that word meant until i clicked on it! ;)
FruitBlows / September 18, 2009 at 10:07 am
Fruit sucks anyways...who buys fruit?
Cameron / September 18, 2009 at 04:12 pm
"Ronald Tran is the manager of Fruit King, in business since 1990 on the opposite corner, but he's across the street at Fruitland, next to Su's store, when I talk to him, as both stands are owned by the same family."

This sentence left me scratching my head and my brain hurting.
et / September 18, 2009 at 07:55 pm
I used to go to Fruit King, but as soon as Valley Farm opened its doors I switched the stores. Much more helpful and friendlier people there!!! Even if they don't speak perfect English :)
fruitWalla / April 6, 2012 at 01:43 pm
I can sell you halal el-fonzi mango from Pakistan for good price!
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