Brazil-Based Açai Foodservice Concept OAKBERRY Expands into Vancouver Market [Interview]


Share post:

OAKBERRY, Brazil’s number one açai brand and purveyors of 100 per cent natural and always fresh açai bowls and smoothies, is set to open five stores in Vancouver this year with more to come throughout Western Canada.

Carter Friesen

“We are beyond excited to bring OAKBERRY to Vancouver, a city that embraces a wellness mindset and appreciates fresh, nutritious ingredients,” said Carter Friesen, Master Franchisee for Western Canada. “We can’t wait for people to taste this delicious superfood this summer and to see what all the hype is about.” 

Friesen, based in Winnipeg, is CEO of Snowbank Capital, the company that is developing OAKBERRY stores across Western Canada. 


Created in 2016, OAKBERRY is a superfood hub, focused on açaí. With around 600 stores, the chain works within the franchise model and is present in more than 30 countries such as the United States, Brazil, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, France, Australia, Peru, Spain, and Portugal. OAKBERRY offers premium açai bowls and smoothies that provide healthy fast food. 

“Our focus is almost on developing OAKBERRY here in Western Canada,” said Friesen.

“Many Canadians are probably not familiar with açai. It’s a Brazilian fruit and 90 per cent of it is naturally harvested in the Amazon. It’s not traditionally farmed or produced the way most fruits are these days. This is farmers who own land and have these Euterpe palm trees growing on the land. They send up farmers on ladders to climb up these trees and take the natural açai off.

“Açai is insanely popular in Brazil. It’s the food of choice. I think if you talk to Brazilians they would say it’s probably their most popular food and you can get it on pretty much any street corner across the country as a breakfast food, as a dessert, as a substitute for meals as well.”

The açai pulp from the berry is a natural antioxidant rich in minerals like potassium and calcium, vitamin E, and healthy fatty acids like Omega 6 and 9. 

OAKBERRY offers customers the opportunity to create and customize their own açai bowls and smoothies in small, medium and large options. 

Oakberry at Sunshine Plaza in Australia (Image: Sunshine Plaza)

OAKBERRY smoothies come with up to three toppings, including fresh fruits like banana, strawberry and blueberries, as well as granola, chia seeds, cacao nibs and more. OAKBERRY bowls will offer unlimited toppings, each layered between delicious açai, creating a flavourful (and highly ‘grammable’) lunch or snack. Customers are encouraged to customize their bowls any way they like to create their very own take on this flavourful and nutritious food.

Vancouver’s first OAKBERRY will open late spring in Kitsilano at 3139 West Broadway. It marks the second western Canadian expansion of the brand, following a store opening in Calgary some time in May.

Additional locations will open in Gastown and Cambie Village. There will also be an OAKBERRY kiosk at The Post building downtown on West Georgia Street, and a signature store is set to open in the West End this summer, just in time for beach season. An additional five stores will open this year and next across Western Canada in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

“They’re going to range from small kiosks where you can take out and go to stores with small seating areas. Generally we won’t have seating for more than 10 people in the stores,” said Friesen. 

“We’ve got pretty aggressive plans. We think there’s a real need for a product like this. I don’t know if we can share exactly what our plan is for the number we intend to open but our schedule will be fairly aggressive and we’re going to focus really hard on the lower Mainland and the major metropolitan areas in Western Canada.”

OAKBERRY operates in the GTA under a different master franchise agreement, including locations at Toronto Union Station, Mississauga, and a future location at The Well.

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

More From The Author



Subscribe to the Newsletter

Related articles

The New Grocery Code of Conduct Should Benefit Both Canadians and the Food Industry [Op-Ed]

An industry expert provides an overview of what the new code should improve and supply chain management practices as consumers grapple with rapid food inflation.

Columbus Café Expands Rapidly in Canada, Opening 10th Location in Montreal and Announcing First Toronto Location [Interview]

The Parisian chain is looking to grow its presence in Canada significantly with a goal for a significant number of locations, according to its broker.

Swarovski Opens Unique One-of-a-Kind Canadian Concept Store on Bloor Street in Toronto [Photos]

Toronto is one of only a handful of cities globally to feature Swarovski’s new Instant Wonder concept store design. 

Healthy Planet Expands in Southern Ontario with 4 New Locations and Innovative Healthy Planet Kitchen [Interview]

One of Canada's fastest growing health and wellness retail chains is growing its brick-and-mortar presence while launching a new concept, says its GM.

Canadian Restaurants Facing Impending Bankruptcies as CEBA Loan Repayment Deadline Looms [Survey]

Research is showing an increase in bankruptcies with a loan repayment deadline at the end of the year potentially throwing the industry into chaos.

Louis Vuitton Opens Canada’s 2nd Men’s Ready-to-Wear Concession at Holt Renfrew Ogilvy in Montreal [Photos]

The luxury superbrand is growing its ready-to-wear presence in Canada in the country’s second-largest city, which will see even more clothing when a flagship Vuitton opens at Royalmount next year.

The Body Shop North America Appoints New General Manager to Expand Business: Interview with Jordan Searle

Searle discusses plans to upgrade stores with The Body Shop's new Workshop concept as the brand continues to see consumer growth amid competition.

Canadian Consumers will Abandon Checkouts if Preferred Payment Methods Unavailable [Study/Interview]

A new report examines consumer behaviour in Canada, indicating that retailers need to invest in tech to gain shopper loyalty.

Rack Attack Continues Expansion in Canada, Adding Three New Stores and Acquiring Calgary Locations [Interview]

The retailer of car racks, bike racks, rooftop tents, overlanding, and other outdoor gear is growing its operations in Canada with plans for more locations amid consumer demand.

Pilgrim CEO Robert Hayes Discusses the Jeweller’s Expansion Plans in Canada: Video Interview

The discussion includes how Hayes brought the brand into the market, what makes it so popular, wholesale expansion, and what's in store for new locations in Canada including one at CF Toronto Eaton Centre opening in late June.

Fitness Concept elleTO Growing Business with Female-Focus [Interview]

Founder Michelle Epstein discusses the rebrand and location moves which are proving successful for the 12-year old women's gym.

Montreal-Based Gourmet Salad Brand Mandy’s Sets Ambitious Expansion Plans, Eyeing National and International Growth [Interview]

The popular salad restaurant chain is looking at opening a substantial number of locations, given success after a recent expansion.