Jan Kuppens is happy to be living and working on the site of a former dairy farm. To be fair, he's pretty happy all the time, but also, he's spent his life on dairy farms, first while growing up in Holland and later in Innisfail, after he immigrated to Canada in 1996. Today, Jan is the owner of Red Gables Deli on Spring Creek Drive, and it feels like everything has come full circle.
Red Gables Deli, named for one of the buildings on Jan's Innisfail Farm, opened at the end of 2019. It's a charming space lined with local goods, from beef, bison and Sylvan Star cheese to canned foods, baked treats, honey and dairy. “Locally-sourced” is a trendy concept, but for Jan, it's just life. He spends three days every week doing supply runs across Alberta – a schedule he calls “the perfect balance" – sourcing milk, bread, preserves and meat from producers he's known for decades. Meat cutting happens at his parents’ farm in Innisfail, and processing is done by an old neighbor.
The only items Jan doesn't pick up personally are a selection of imported Dutch Foods, a nod to his heritage that customers have embraced – in fact, his best-selling item is Dutch stroopies. Perhaps it's the syrupy wafers that keep a growing crowd of regulars jangling the door chimes at Red Gables Deli, but more likely, it's Jan’s amiable charm and his deep commitment to his customers.