House of Halal selected as a finalist for the BBB’s Maritime Business Ethics Award

On October 28th 2010, House of Halal was selected as a finalist for the 2010 Maritime Business Ethics Award (under 15 employees category). The other two finalists in this category were Nurtured,Baby,Kid,Family  and Propeller Brewing Company.

The awards were announced on November 24th 2010. And the award in this category went to Propeller Brewing Company.

Nevertheless, we are grateful for being given consideration, and we are thankful to those who nominated us.

The following was the nomination submitted for us:

Business Selected:

House of Halal

www.houseofhalal.ca

3559 Dutch Village Road,

Halifax, Nova Scotia

Canada B3M 2S9

(902) 455-MEAT (6328)

houseofhalalhalifax[at]hotmail.com

Type of Business

House of Halal is a proprietary grocery located on Dutch village road. House of Halal focuses on serving the dietary needs of the Muslim community in Halifax. And therefore, dietary needs of Arab, Indian and Pakistani ethnic communities. These dietary needs are generally not met by supermarkets. Simultaneously, the store offers an outlet for local Canadians curious enough to interact with members of the Muslim community, as well as to experiment with meat and spices of Arab and East Asian countries. Such interactions are pivotal in maintaining inter-community relationships. In addition, many local Canadians have turned to House of Halal for free-range locally sourced meat.

Practicing Muslims can only eat meat from select animals, and after ensuring that that they are slaughtered in a prescribed fashion, that ensures that the meat is halal (Arabic for permissible). The store opened the in 2004 with the central focus of providing halal products to Halifax’s growing Muslim community. Before opening the store the proprietors had approached Superstore about carrying halal, but found they weren’t interested at that time. And so they started their own grocery store to meet the special needs of practicing Muslims in the area. The store also serves some Jewish customers. Similar to Muslims, practicing members of the Jewish community prefer to eat meat slaughtered by the same method.

Values

House of Halal does not have a formal value statement, other than generalized slogans of meeting the needs of their customer base. But even a cursory look at their website reveals certain values they are adhering to. For example, it is mentioned on the store website that they do not sell alcohol based products, cigarettes or lottery cards as part of “upholding their values.” These items constitute key sales of corner grocery stores.

Upon a visit to the store, the proprietor, Mrs. Khan explained how the store derived its key strength from building and maintaining relationships with its customer base, locals and its suppliers.

The store’s chief product is sourced locally from within Nova Scotia and it is very likely to be organic. House of Halal has emerged as a leading supplier of such halal meat in Halifax. The business is a great example of sustainability, proving that values do not necessarily mean bad business.

Code of Conduct

House of Halal has an informal code of conduct. Typical of businesses in East Asia, the code of conduct is not heavily advertised or elucidated. Instead, House of Halal operates more like a club, where customers become nodes in a relationship network spawned by the store’s owners/operators. Customers become exposed to their informal code of conduct in such fashion. And the store’s commitment to its values reverberates throughout this entire network, putting expectations and pressure on the proprietors.

Based on conversations with Mrs. Khan, it appears that House of Halal is more focused on maintaining a relationship network with its customers, locals and suppliers rather than simply generating profits. People who visit her store can expect favours that are unheard of in today’s typical department stores. These favours include arranging matches with landlords and new immigrants seeking apartments.

Ensuring that her chief product, halal meat, maintains expected standards requires significant diligence and careful attention. In addition, the store has shown more than satisfactory level of participation in voluntary community based activities such as raising awareness of the dietary habits of its customer base by facilitating participation in a Multicultural festival. Community members who open food stalls in the festival have been granted  free use of store facilities (freezers, stoves etc.) and the provision of cooking goods at discounted prices. In the last festival, food that was not sold was purchased back by the store.

Conclusion

Based on the summary above, it is felt that House of Halal would be be an ideal candidate for the BBB Maritime Business Ethics Award. Although there are certain obvious limitations considering the small size of the operation, these shortcomings are overcome by upholding its unique value system.

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