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This specialty foods franchise got its start in North Vancouver

Ayoub’s Dried Fruit and Nuts is now up to seven locations after opening its first store on Lonsdale Avenue 15 years ago
Owner Amir Hosh stands outside Ayoub’s Dried Fruit and Nuts on North Vancouver’s Lonsdale Avenue. The specialty good store that started in North Van now boasts seven locations across the Lower Mainland, with plans to expand further across Canada and into the United States. | Hamid Jafari / North Shore News

Fifteen years have passed since Ayoub’s Dried Fruits and Nuts opened its first branch on Lonsdale Avenue in North Vancouver.

What was once a small business on the North Shore can no longer be considered small, with seven branches across the Lower Mainland and plans to establish physical stores across Canada and possibly in the U.S., alongside an online store that serves customers across Canada.

Establishing a small business often starts with a dream. For owner Amir Hosh, however, that dream has been fulfilled as a means of giving back to the community, city, and country that have contributed so much to his growth and development.

In one of his Instagram posts, he captioned: “We are a small local Vancouver business with big dreams.”

Hosh migrated to Canada with his family about 20 years ago and studied business at Simon Fraser University.

“This is a family business for us,” he said. “My father had this business for around 40 years, and when we moved to Canada as immigrants, we decided that the market is good for high-end quality dried fruits, nuts, and snacks in Vancouver.”

He decided to open their first store with the help of his father and sister. They started the business hoping to introduce something from another culture to Canadians by packaging and presenting it uniquely.

“Fifteen years ago, I wasn’t expecting the feedback to be so good,” he said. “I always thought about having the store bridge Eastern and Western cultures. Initially, it was challenging. But over time, anyone who walked in and tried our freshly roasted nuts almost always returned.”

With the success of the first store opened in May of 2009, they expanded further, opening their second store on Denman Street in Vancouver a couple of years later. They now have four locations in Vancouver as well as stores in Coquitlam and Burnaby.

And while the Lower Mainland was the initial target area, his vision was always to expand across North America, said Hosh.

“This year, we’re finally getting closer to that goal,” he said. “We’re starting to open new locations outside of B.C., in Calgary hopefully, and possibly in Washington.”

Alongside expanding their physical stores, when COVID-19 hit the world in 2020, Hosh launched an online store that sells across Canada.

“We’ve received good feedback from people across the country,” he said. “This has been great and encourages us to continue expanding.”

Hosh said he aims to offer a unique selection of products.

“We strive to offer a diverse range of snacks, nuts, and dried fruits, consistently introducing new items to keep our offerings fresh,” he said. “Our primary focus is on the quality and variety of our products. We work tirelessly to ensure that our products maintain top-notch quality.”

Quality service and the freshness of the products are two other priorities for the business, said Hosh.

Currently, 70 people are employed by Ayoub’s Dried Fruits and Nuts.

“At Ayoub’s, we have a culture of self-improvement and education. We focus on continuously enhancing ourselves, expanding our knowledge, and supporting each other’s personal and professional growth,” he said.

Hosh emphasized that he is proud of all they have accomplished.

“As an immigrant, I’m proud of all I’ve received from Canada,” he said. “Representing a Canadian business and creating jobs across the country is something I deeply value. It’s a way for me to give back to the community, city and the country that have given so much to my growth and development.”

Hamid Jafari is a Vancouver-based freelance journalist who writes about the Iranian community in Canada, art, culture, and social media trends. His work for the North Shore News is supported by New Canadian Media. [email protected]