Country Grocer staff in Nanaimo are basking in the glow of national and regional awards.
The Country Grocer Bowen Road store earned a national bronze award and the regional gold award in the 2020 Canadian Independent Grocer of the Year Awards.
The national bronze, silver and gold awards are presented to the top-scoring stores in Canada in the small, medium and large floor space categories. Country Grocer’s Bowen location won the bronze award in the large surface store category, representing store of 25,000 square feet or more.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers, which presents the awards, is a non-profit trade association founded in 1962 that represents more than 6,900 retailers across Canada.
“The Independent Grocer of the Year Award is for retail excellence and that is customer service, overall staff and how great they are, cleanliness, organization, quality of our products, merchandising and the overall store layout,” said Tyler Large, Country Grocer north Island operations manager.
The Bowen Road store also won a gold award in the regional large surface category for the B.C. and Yukon. The Bowen store opened in October 2012 and earned regional recognition for B.C. and Yukon in the category in 2014.
Country Grocer said the competition is getting tougher with more independent chains staking out territory in western Canada.
“Each year there’s more large surface stores going across Canada,” Large said. “Save-On’s pushing out west. They’re building some beautiful stores. [Longo Brothers] out east. They run a tremendous operation. It’s just nice to be considered with the rest of the guys there.”
Tory Dillabough, Bowen Road Country Grocer store manager, said he believes it’s the store’s staff that makes it stand out.
“The team and the culture we have here that we’ve built over all these years and the amount of effort that the team as a whole puts in every day … it shows,” Dillabough said. “I think to share this with them and how their accomplishments have brought this award to us, I think is huge for everybody.”
Country Grocer’s Royal Oak store in Victoria won the silver national award in the medium surface category – 15,000-25,000 square feet – and a gold award for the medium surface category for the B.C. and Yukon region.
Cory Davits and the team at Pepper’s Foods in Victoria won bronze nationally and gold regionally in the small surface category.