Investment company Deer Horn Capital (CSE:DHC) said the first store operating under its Bodhi Natural Market banner is steadily establishing itself.
Deer Horn invests in and develops businesses within the green and lifestyle sectors, and at present it is primarily focused on developing a new brand of natural and organic food stores called Bodhi Natural Market - "Bodhi" being a Buddhist term meaning enlightenment.
The company is blazing a trail with this format, and as such has to persuade customer to overcome the fear of the new, but Deer Horn's president and chief executive officer, Tyrone Docherty, has been encouraged by progress at the first store, which is in Maple Ridge, in British Columbia.
Stock market regulations prevent Docherty from revealing hard numbers until the financial statements for the quarter are officially released, but he did reveal that almost 2,500 shoppers had signed up for the store's loyalty program.
On top of that, the average sale is increasing, which signifies that customers are increasingly using the store for their main shopping trip, rather than visiting to make supplementary purchases.
Alternatively, they may have simply become addicted to Bodhi's Frog Friendly Wild coffee, served in the coffee bar ...
"Our customer balance after two months is about 40% new shoppers and 60% returning shoppers," Docherty revealed, adding that this was about the ratio that Lance Sutherland, the store's veteran manager, wants to see.
"It means that word is getting out to potential new customers and that people like the store enough to come back," Docherty asserted.
The Deer Horn CEO said the Maple Ridge store was opened in a traditionally weak month for grocery sales, in a heatwave, with road construction taking place either side of the premises.
Despite that, "the store is doing fine", Docherty revealed, and management is expecting a noticeable pick-up in revenues come September/October time, when the company's advertising flyer campaign will be in full-swing.
"We are now at the point where we believe a second store makes sense," Docherty declared.
"We have assessed about 15 sites for Store 2 and there are a couple that we like. We cannot control timing when it comes to finding a location that is available on the right terms, but rest assured that we are working to expand both quickly and wisely," he said.
Breaking in the second store will be easier than the first, and the company will start to enjoy economies of scale.
"It should also lift combined sales to a level where we begin to get on the radar of more large players in the financial community," Docherty opined.