– Let us Love
Back in May 2010, when Kindfood opened its doors, I had no idea what my heart was getting into. For all of my life I have wanted to help others and to show them a better way of eating – without ‘processed foods’ or ingesting harmful toxins from animal-based foods and create a community or culture for all to enjoy.
A little over a year earlier, in 2009, we birthed this massive passion within our family by going 100% plant-based (vegan) and it poured into my soul and into everyone else’s around me. It was so exciting! I was completely passionate about my thoughts and what I was learning about planet-based foods, Superfoods, and the truth about the big agricultural animal-based food industry. As a family, we all were fired up to spread the word, the passion and spread the love.
Kindfood was born.
Ken and I were sitting in a beach house in Anguilla in 2009, and I was writing about my transformation into the vegan lifestyle and healthy foods and reading articles on the science and politics of plant-based food (and why animal-based foods are fiercely promoted) and all of a sudden, this name came from within me: “Kindfood”. The name was crafted from a voice deep inside and embodied everything I profoundly believed in: Being kind to your body, kind to the planet and kind to all sentient beings. It was born from everything within my heart and my soul.
A seed of deep consciousness had been planted in me and in our family. Kindfood was born and once opened; we had the honour of sharing our hearts with the planet. When Kindfood initially started out, it was a café, bakery, juice bar, smoothie bar, produce and groceries and this idea of conscious eating, conscious living and conscious loving was planted in downtown Burlington in early 2010. We took on a massive undertaking to open this business, called Kindfood, but we felt you all were worth it and we worked tirelessly to get our message out.
In the next two years we created more recipes, we morphed, we renovated and changed and removed groceries & produce department and listened to customer feedback and revised our business model and removed the bakery and Erinn and I (excitedly) had the bake shoppe up the street as Kelly’s Bake Shoppe…. we kept updating until we had a 100% full restaurant and what exists today.
Instantly, we were a hit and since that day in 2010, we have been the #1 restaurant that happens to be the healthiest, in Burlington for the past 7 years.
In 2013, we re-branded Kindfood to Lettuce Love Café because we had to.
Kind Bars had been relentless with their ‘cease and desist threat’ and to shut us down if we did not drop the word Kind. That was a tough pill to swallow being such a small family business and we did not have the funding to defend ourselves. The re-brand was scary to do but we surrendered and took it all in stride and paid out $1000’s to a branding & design company to create what we have today: Lettuce Love Café.
The name ‘Lettuce Love’ came from a part of my mind by going inward for three hours on the second floor of Kelly’s Bake Shoppe and I sat there uninterrupted and thoughts began to flood my mind. I was sharing my heart in meditation and then reading some old journals and I said to myself, “We must forgive ‘Kind Bars’ and why that corporation decided to relentlessly attack us…. ‘Let Us Love’ Everyone. Let us LOVE everyone, let us forgive and release it all…
I shrilled!! “LET US LOVE and we LOVE LETTUCE (Vegan food)! We love lettuce and we want the world to love everyone……Lettuce Love Cafe!!! It’s who we are. It’s what we represent for our planet. That’s the name!!” I was so excited to share this with Ken, Mike and Erinn. When I told them, they all smiled and said, ‘That’s it!!’ From that day, in December 2013, when we launched Lettuce Love Café, we knew we had something special for us and for all of you. As much as we were terrified of a re-brand, it was the best thing that ever happened to our business and sales went through the roof.
It’s been such an incredible 7 years full of ups and downs and a huge learning curve for me in business and personally too. I will treasure Kindfood and Lettuce Love Cafe forever in my heart in a special way.
On Thursday, June 1st, we said good-bye to our baby.
We know for some of you, there will be shock and a crazed look on your face (“how could you sell something so amazing?”). For others there will be tears thinking of all the fond memories of Michael (xo) and Kindfood and Lettuce Love and for most, we will get congratulations and hugs too. For all of us though, the common theme is that we created addicts with our delicious, award-winning, plant-based foods. We converted people energetically towards kindness, compassion and consciousness through their stomachs and hearts and of course through Michael and his extraordinary connection he had with each and every one of you. We know he’s a true gift to the planet and to people with his genuine love and care and customer service he gives so effortlessly (I’m so grateful he’s Erinn’s partner).
What a brilliant business model for us to have achieved!
Our hearts are so heavy with sadness to say good-bye, but we know that the future of our planet is in a better place because of our hard work and dedication for over 7 years. Our mission was to plant these seeds of change within as many people as we could and we’ve done it and there is still more to do. We are ready to sprinkle more love and be a part of a larger voice to shine the light on our beautiful planet. It just won’t be from behind the counter of Lettuce Love Café anymore.
It is time for the four of us to grow in more ways than we ever dreamt possible and to look at our lives as being the impermanent blip that they are. We know that nothing lasts forever and the impermanence of life is the only thing that is real. This next chapter for us all is being written a little differently than the past (last) 7 years and we are okay with that. It’s a little scary, exciting and totally awesome all at once.
It’s time to hand off our baby to an incredibly capable new owner and share the love and the gift of Lettuce Love with more of the world and we know that it will shine even brighter. Seven years of 24-hour days for a family of four is a tough road to haul, but we did it, we had great days and we had some utterly difficult ones too. There were lots of days with tears, lots of days with laughter, business lessons, life lessons, family lessons, husband lessons, wife lessons, customer lessons, and we cannot forget, Metallica too (1000’s of hours were spent in the wee hours of the night creating recipes with my favourite band)! Through it all, we did it with so much love and devotion and loyalty to Mother Earth.
I’m feeling both a sense of loss, and sadness and a sense of excitement and exhilaration for what is next up for us.
Like a tree, I see us grow and accumulate our inner rings and every year we collect another ring in our trunk – our foundation and very soul and we grow outward. As this expansion happens, the bark begins to split on the outside of our bodies and it is time for us to shed our bark. Our growth depends upon our ability to soften, and to loosen the bark, and shed boundaries and defenses we no longer need.
It’s time for us, as a family, to move into our next ring of growth. We can feel it deep within our souls and if we don’t allow ourselves to shed our protective layer of bark, we can’t expand to our full potential and what we are to experience, and ultimately, become even more love.
Lettuce Love Café was for the planet – it wasn’t for me or Mike or Ken or Erinn. I gave of myself to grow a conduit and connection to the world; a vessel to shine the light on how we live. I was allowed to serve each and every one of you. As did Mike, and Ken and Erinn too. It was our complete honour.
With such profound humbleness, thank you from the depths of my heart to serve you all for these years. Thank you from the depths of my family’s hearts too. Thank you to our incredible and dedicated staff from the past and the magical ones in the present that all have carried Lettuce Love and Kindfood to where it is today. There is an energetic connection that can NEVER be destroyed or disappear and please know, we always will be together – even if it means it will be at one of our new concepts (stay tuned), or at Kelly’s Bake Shoppe eating a Mile High brownie or joining us online with KellyandErinn.com.
We love you all so much! With our deepest gratitude from the 4 of us.