March 26, 2018

Brewery Business: Meet Carly from Freshii

With personal health and wellness an important lifestyle focus for so many, we're thrilled to have Freshii as part of our community. Located just steps from the homes at The Brewery District, Freshii is a healthy and convenient dining option. We recently had the opportunity to chat with Carly Barnetson, General Manager of Freshii at The Brewery District. Read on to find out what she had to say.

Why did you decide to open a Freshii location?

When my Dad and I looked to open a business together, Freshii was the first thing that came to my mind. So many communities were in need of a place that provided healthy food that was convenient and affordable.

Beyond fulfilling the brand's mission every day, our personal mission is to provide an enjoyable and impactful employment experience for those in the community. For the majority of people that join our team, it’s their first job. It’s really important to us that we demonstrate what a working environment should be like and to give them the experience and skills to be successful in life. We realize we are a stepping stone for most, however providing options for growth when desired is something we really focus on.

We have 2 locations currently. Our store management team was me. We’ve now added 4 individuals who are running day-to-day operations, 2 of which started internally with us as Team Members and worked their way up to Assistant Store Managers. Watching our team’s individual growth and development and continuously pushing what they think they’re capable of, that’s why I enjoy what I do.

Have you always loved healthy food? 

Growing up, the healthy eating movement was just starting. I was playing soccer competitively, sometimes 7 days a week, so we were often eating on the go. I remembered how few options there were for truly healthy food that was convenient. The biggest wake up call for me came after having multiple knee surgeries. I wasn’t able to play soccer anymore or maintain the level of exercise I had previously. It was then that I realized that being healthy was not only about the calories I was burning, but how I was getting them. Food is fuel. I love seeing young families come in and enjoy our Kids Eat Free weekends from our Kids Menu or teams stopping by after practices and games. I wish Freshii was around when I was growing up!

Freshii focuses on using fresh, quality ingredients. What’s your favourite thing on (or off) the menu?

For breakfast, I love our Spinach, Mushroom + Cheese Grilled Egg Pocket which is scrambled egg, spinach, mushrooms, red peppers and goat cheese. I add some spice with Buffalo Sauce.

My go-to for lunch right now is our Tortilla Soup which is spicy tortilla broth, brown rice, kale, black beans, corn, tomato, cilantro, avocado and tortilla chips. I sub cilantro for broccoli.

From vegan to gluten-free to dairy-free to carb-free – people are very particular about what they eat these days. How does Freshii accommodate these different food preferences?

I love how easy our menu is to customize! We truly have something for everyone. At Freshii, you can get exactly what you want whether you're modifying a chef-designed menu item or completely creating your own using our custom FAST tickets. We do have items that are already vegan, gluten-free or dairy-free but using our nutritional guide and advice from Team Members, guests can meet their dietary restrictions and preferences from the majority of our menu.

Sales of your WE Feed menu items support children in need. Can you tell us more about that program?

Every day at any Freshii location, guests can make a direct impact in WE Village communities by ordering from our WE Menu. When you order a Zen Salad or Wrap, Oaxaca Bowl, Khao San Burrito or Superfood Soup, you're actually donating a meal to a child in need. As a company, we just completed our first Communitii Day on March 22 where for every entree purchased, we donated $1 to WE which translates to 10 meals for children in need. Check out freshii.com/communitiiday to see the results!

What do you like most about New Westminster?

As a child, we often visited the Westminster Quay so I would have to say that is what I like most as I have many memories there. Prior to opening our doors, I hadn’t spent very much time in New Westminster but it’s been really enjoyable to explore and learn about the city. It’s evident that the city is rich with history and culture and the community connections are strong.

What is your favourite thing about being located at The Brewery District?

The area is always changing and growing! It’s been really great to get to know the new residents of The Sapperton. I also love being able to energize the doctors, nurses and support workers from RCH and the surrounding area, who provide a critical service to our community. I spent the first 3 weeks of my life at RCH in the Special Care Nursery. It also doesn’t hurt to have great neighbours like Manny, from the Barber Shop next door.

Find Freshii at Brewery District: 208 East Columbia Street, New Westminster

freshii.com