Julia Taylor in Conversation
July 25, 2022
Julia Taylor at the Country Cupboard
By Chantal Soutar
When Julia Taylor was young, her father died of cancer, which made her realize that she could not take her health for granted. Though this prompted her to embrace healthy living, it was not until she was in her early 20s that she really came to appreciate how important caring for the Earth is for everybody’s health. Julia faced some major health issues herself and a friend, who had endured similar medical complications, recommended a book for her to read. It was written by a naturopathic medical doctor, and it helped Julia realize how making a change in her personal health can have an impact on others. This understanding of the importance of caring for your own health and the Earth itself guides Julia’s life and her ownership of the Country Cupboard in Fenelon Falls.
Julia is motivated to help her community be environmentally friendly through her business and volunteer work because she knows that it is closely connected to personal health and well-being, through air and water quality. The Country Cupboard is a store with an important mission in its community, providing the products their customers need to stay healthy, and minimizing waste. Julia spearheaded introducing recycling to Garnet Graham Park, and values equality and inclusivity.
Country Cupboard has a long history in Fenelon Falls, first opening its doors in 1981. Today, the store is known for its health foods and alternative products. It’s also a store with a long tradition of serving its well-loved frozen yogurt, which has been a part of the store since 1982, just one year after the store opened. Forty years later, frozen yogurt is still served using the same brand of yogurt from the same machine.
Julia Taylor bought the store in February 2018. Having grown up in Fenelon Falls, Julia shopped at the Country Cupboard weekly, which allowed her to begin to reduce her waste by using jars at the store. This is what inspired her to buy the store because she knew she could have an impact. She saw an opportunity to replace plastic bags, with jars and paper bags. She knew by making this change, she could make an even more significant impact by influencing others to reduce their waste as well. Julia also loves what the store sells. When asked what her favourite part of the job was, she explained, “I definitely feel like this is my little space with all my favourite things, and I just get to invite people in and talk about all my favourite stuff.”
Under Julia’s ownership, she has taken many steps to evolve the store. For one, she recently added an accessibility door to the store. Moreover, Julia has worked to make the store even more eco-friendly. As the world evolves, she has taken the store with it. Julia continues to encourage waste-free shopping as the store offers free reusable jars and cloth bags. The store is also powered by Bullfrog, a Canadian company which allows Country Cupboard to use a more innovative and greener energy solution. During Earth Month, Julia puts pressure on her brands and distributors to do better as well. She encourages them to switch to recycled plastic bottles and paper packaging, and she forces them to look at themselves and see what strives they are making to be an environmentally friendly company.
Julia thinks it is important for people to be more environmentally conscious to mitigate the effects that climate change will have on everyone. She knows it can be hard to encourage people, so she prefers to lead by example on how to have a lifestyle that is good for the planet.
Julia’s impact on the town doesn’t just stop at caring for the environment; she is involved in the community in many ways. Julia loves to help out with the Kawartha Lakes Pride organization, and she is a proud ally to the LGBTQIA+ community. Julia stated, “it’s always important to stand up for what you believe in and stand up for people who are marginalized and impacted by things.” Julia has been an inspiration for other business owners to put up Pride flags and donate to Pride.
Country Cupboard is located at 9 May St., Fenelon Falls, and it’s not moving location anytime soon. Julia exclaimed how much she loves Fenelon Falls and the community. She expressed, “I would not want to be anywhere else.” During the pandemic, when she dealt with the struggles that all local businesses faced, she shared how her customers were kind, compassionate, and forgiving.
While the store’s location won’t change, Julia is hopeful of making more changes to the store. She is looking to it to have a commercial kitchen where she can offer healthy whole foods and plant-based foods. This addition would also allow her to reduce waste even more by being able to make the healthy food products herself instead of purchasing and then selling them by the package. Julia is proud of her influence on the community, and she is clearly working to further this impact.
Country Cupboard is a store in Fenelon Falls like no other and its owner, Julia Taylor, continues to make a cleaner, greener, and healthier community.