Thompson Rivers University

Alumni Q&A: From OL to entrepreneurship

  Posted on: November 25, 2021

TRU alum Ryan Dennis

Larry's Market is a vegetarian grocery store founded by TRU alum Ryan Dennis.

By TRU Alumni

TRU alum Ryan Dennis (Cert. Mgmt Studies ’13) is the founder of organic grocery retailer Larry’s Market in Vancouver. Dennis caught up with TRU Alumni to talk about his business and how his education has helped him in entrepreneurship:

Tell us about yourself. Where did you grow up? What did you take at TRU? Why did you choose TRU Open Learning (OL)? 

I grew up on North Vancouver. My grandparents met while working in The Shipyards in North Van in the Second World War (Larry’s Market is located at the commercial block at The Shipyards). I was in the Bachelor of Commerce program with a major in leadership. I went to TRU because of the online options, so I could work while I was going to school.  I found the classes to be great and I always had support when I needed it.

What drew you to the organic foods retail business? 

I decided to start selling healthy groceries when my family was faced with a major illness. We decided that we wanted to be able to provide healthy food to the world and make it super convenient. We have a tough set of criteria that we want all of the companies that we work with to follow. 

How did your education at TRU help you in the career you are in today? 

I learned so much about leadership and organization at TRU. When I started with my own business, I realized how much this would benefit me. Simple tasks, that may not be taught in corporations, that I was responsible for with my own business were now doable because I had taken the TRU classes.

What advice would you give to current TRU OL students? 

Follow your heart, always do what is right for you.  Study hard and when you are finished school you will definitely use the tools that you are adding to your educational toolbox.

What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs? 

Make sure you really understand your business.  Live it and make it a part of your lifestyle. When you know how to do everything in your business, when things aren’t going right you will know what to do.

Why is it important for people to support local businesses this holiday season? 

Local business is everything when you are looking holiday gifts. Mostly unique and always made with passion. It also makes our economy work better. The big businesses will always be OK, the local businesses always need your support.

Where can we find you?

Find us at larrysmarket.ca or at one of our two stores: 125 Victory Ship Way in North Vancouver or 291 East Georgia in Vancouver.

We want to hear your story. Get in touch at alumni@tru.ca.