Vahid Walji bought New Age Health Food in 1993 and proudly served his customers and community for 27 years. In 2020, a rare cancer took him quickly, together with his unrealized dreams.
But there is one dream that continues to live and that is New Age, as it is lovingly known by its customers.
Read his story below.
At a time of upheaval in much of Africa, Vahid’s parents sought and found a better life in Canada for themselves and Vahid. Like so many immigrants, Vahid knew he wanted to have his own business, so at 23 he bought New Age. Vahid kept his prices low, knowing margins would be slimmer and work would be harder but it was important to Vahid that all customers be able to afford quality health products. One on one conversation with customers were so important to Vahid, as they allowed him to understand his customers’ needs and advise them on the best choices for their health and a healthy lifestyle. As Vahid’s business grew and prospered, so did his desire to give back to others.
Caring for Community
From the start, Vahid treated all who walked into the store with the same respect, regard and kindness that he wanted others to afford him. He met many, some of whom had struggles, small and large and their stories and journeys touched his heart. Vahid realized that he could help others and serve the world around him, so he began quietly giving to those who needed assistance, whether financial or compassionate support or both He did so without any concern for recognition or reward. Vahid became even more attuned to his customers and their needs- was it only for health products? Was there something more they needed to share? Was there a burden he could alleviate for them? And in doing this, his own spirituality grew and deepened.
Continuing Vahid's legacy
Vahid’s faith helped him to understand why he was here and how to make life more meaningful for him and others. His faith was strength as he and his best friend, his partner Shelina Lalani confronted his cancer diagnosis, his treatment, his care and the difficult days of letting go of life. Vahid loved desserts, Man United, trips to the Bahamas but the dream of going back to the country he’d left as a teenager and exploring its corners was the one dream that remained. Vahid left New Age in the care of Shelina Lalani, his best friend, his partner, his love. Shelina looks forward to continuing Vahid’s legacy of providing quality products at reasonable prices, with the same care, kindness, compassion and respect that Vahid always exhibited.