When Ella’s Jamaican Food first opened in 2014, it was only ever meant to be a weekly endeavor at the Truro Farmers’ Market with just three dishes – jerk chicken, curry chicken and chickpea curry.
Carol Pickering, along with her sister, Sula Cindy Paris, and her husband, Bruce, wanted to share the love of food that their family and ancestors instilled in them growing up.
“There is a peace, joy and happiness – a feeling of home – that comes with serving food for us,” said Pickering. “We quickly realized from all of the positive feedback and requests to expand, that there was a demand for us to open our own location.”
After first opening a takeout location on Prince Street in downtown Truro, Sula Paris and her daughter, Melissa Paris, who had just returned home from Toronto, decided to take the reins and expand to a dine-in restaurant with a full menu right across the street from their original Prince Street location.
Things don’t always go according to plan and Ella’s temporarily closed its doors. After taking a short break to regroup, Ella’s just re-opened in their new location on Nov. 1. It was important for all involved that they took time to find a larger place where they could offer space for private parties and meetings. Ella’s now offers catering, take-out and delivery services, and remains a family business, this time run by Pickering, Sula Paris, Melissa Paris, and Aunt Carol. With a new location and a new menu, they have found a way to make use of each other’s strengths and collaborate on ways to make things better, while creating an atmosphere that is warm and friendly when customers arrive.
“We want our customers to feel like they are in their mother’s kitchen when they come to Ella’s,” said Pickering. “We want them to have that same feeling and taste of home and comfort that we get from serving them.”
She knows that it is their customers – and the relationships that have grown and developed over the years – that count.
“It is important that your customers know that you appreciate them. And we love seeing customers come through our doors who have been with us from the beginning in 2014, and who are just finding out about us. Without them, we would not be here.”
The key to Ella’s future success will be in continuing to build strong relationships within the community, keeping up to date with social media and technology, and always looking ahead to the future.
Melissa Paris hopes to pass her business on to her children, Ella and Paris, and to one day see a chain of Ella’s Jamaican Food restaurants.
“We love that we are a family run business and we are always looking for ways to learn, grow, and gain more experience as we move forward,” said Melissa Paris. “We enjoy the camaraderie among the businesses in Truro and welcome advice and support from fellow business owners.”
Ella’s Jamaican Food is located at 918.5 Prince St., Truro. For more information, call 902-843-3222 or find them on Facebook and Instagram.