What’s in your lunch box?

Adversity may have devastated Marsha Churchill, but she found a solution to her problems

by Breanne Massey
(L to R) Diane Churchill, Devin Penfold and Marsha Churchill.

(L to R) Diane Churchill, Devin Penfold and Marsha Churchill busy in the kitchen. — Breanne Massey photo

Marsha Churchill was a retailer in Fernie for over 10 years, but after being diagnosed with cancer, she became an avid foodie.

"I had cancer removed 10 years ago and it’s never been back. I currently have Multiple Sclerosis," said Churchill, "and you would never know I have it—as long as I maintain my healthy diet, I bet I’ll never suffer from it."

She confessed that her values on eating right have rubbed off on her children, stating that her kids drink smoothies by the gallon and eat more spinach than most.

"I found it frustrating that when you eat out there are never enough vegetables on the plate," said Churchill, "you can’t fit enough veggies in a sandwich for my liking so I choose wraps and load them up…I have never been in the restaurant industry before but I know how I want to eat so I designed my entire menu around it."

Churchill is extremely health-conscious and she swears by the products featured in her new business: The Lunch Box

“You’d be amazed how many people I get in here who have just come out of chemo,” said Churchill. “They’re thrilled to have a healthy option where the food is made from scratch and we serve real oven roasted and smoked meat in our sandwiches.”

Churchill spent $50,000 on renovations for her old company and $2,500 on a juicer, but her most prized possessions are the wheat grass products on location and a $1,500 wheat grass juicer. Buying wheat grass may have cost her $15,000 to start, however it’s one of the products that Churchill used religiously to battle her illness. Her clientele are ecstatic about having a healthy and affordable option for lunch.

"We’re not really trying to be a health food store or vegan restaurant,” said Churchill, "but when you cook from scratch it just ends up that way most of the time."

Marsha Churchill worked day and night to open The Lunch Box in Fernie last December. Her mother, Diane Churchill, spent six grueling weeks to get the business running in record time.

“My mom’s the type that carries tools in purse,” said Churchill. “Plus, I have great staff, it’s like coming to work with my family every day.”

The company serves fresh juices, smoothies, soups, salads, coffee, wraps, chili, stew and curry. The soups are the only thing with dairy products sold on-site. Her favourite thing about the sense of community is the creativity her friends and family have poured into the business. Three of her most popular smoothies were designed by her children; one of her staff (Jackie) is a nutritionist from Australia and another one of her staff (Devin) creates unique dishes, like Hawaiian Pizza Soup.

“Some of the food he makes,” said Churchill, “I used to question—but it’s always delicious. Fernie needed a place like this—fast, healthy and affordable.”

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