Herma and Harry, both born in Holland, have been enjoying 30 years of serving the community together from the time Herma’s little gift store opened in 1993. They formed a beautiful relationship the moment they met and eventually got married in 1998.
Herma, her parents and brother moved to Cobourg, Ontario in the 1950’s. She from her early childhood loved a beautiful table, beautiful fragrances and serving guests. She would always spend her allowance growing up on soaps and would keep them in a drawer just so she could look at them and smell them, savor the luxurious beauty of them.
She began working in accounting at an early age for General Foods and eventually moved to Toronto in her twenties where she got married and had a son and daughter, Herman and Renee, who grew up enjoying the beauty and delicious food Herma brought into their lives at home.
Herma’s heart never really left Cobourg as she and her family would visit and spend a lot of time there, especially in the summer. When her children became teenagers in the late eighties, Herma began reaching out to executives about the creation of corporate gifts and gift baskets.
Wanting to continue with her gifting business, she decided to open a store on Northumberland County Road 28 in 1993 where it is located today. It started out as a gift store. At around this time, though, she met Evan from the Village Grocer who was also just starting out. They agreed that she would carry some of his frozen foods.
Harry came to Port Hope from Holland in the 1970’s. He actually had a carpentry business in the same building as Herma’s gift store when they first met. They began as friends and later fell in love. They were married in 1998.
With the help of Harry, Herma’s store kept expanding. As the foods aspect of their store kept growing so did Harry’s involvement in the store as he stocked the shelves, ordered foods and delivered the Village Grocer’s many products to Herma’s freezers and coolers. He was also soley responsible for all the renovations that have caused to store to constantly take a different shape and form. Changes that have taken place many times over the years.
Not long after the Village Grocer became a big part of Herma’s, cheese became a beloved part of the store. We have always appreciated the beauty and art of how the cheese was created and have loved sharing what we know and love with customers. Many cheeses that are commonly known to the area everywhere first got their start at Herma’s. We have been blessed to have had three cheese experts, Janis, Cathy and Margaret, in our Cheese Department who have been able to help our customers entertain and choose cheese. They have each always worked hard to have on hand cheeses that are beloved favourites fitting for the season and also cheeses that will allow customers to discover something new.
Our Signature Products are a shared effort between what were once the recipes of Fitz-Henry Fine Foods in Toronto and Norah’s prized creations. Their secret recipes have become our secret recipes.
Norah began working in Herma’s Cheese Department on September 2nd, 2005. Norah, who once owned and operated a gourmet foods store of her own, Smile and Say Cheese, came to us after a brief retirement. Norah’s ideas and all that she has brought to our table for over fifteen years has brought us unique products that have been carried on by Margaret today on a weekly basis in our very own kitchen.
So many people have come and gone. Beautiful, supportive people who Herma not only considers friends, but also family.
Today we are also happy to have our current staff of beautiful, talented people who have also brought to us other unique attributes to our store. Gordon’s merchandising and gift wrapping is absolutely stunning. A collaberative effort was made between he and Meredith, Herma’s daughter-in-law, to have on hand wrapped gift certificates for Valentine’s Day about ten years ago. The gift certificates went way beyond Valentine’s Day and have continued on as a unique part of our store.