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History at a Glance

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Has it really been almost forty years? Here’s how we grew from one Thrifty Foods smile in Fairfield, Victoria in 1977 to 25 stores across Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland today.

2015


Lorne MacLean Appointed General Manager of Thrifty Foods

After working for Sobeys for 36 years, Lorne MacLean has done pretty much every job that exists in the grocery business over the course of his career. Along with a wealth of experience in the grocery industry, he brought with him to Thrifty Foods his passion for helping Canadians Eat Better, Feel Better and Do Better.

2014


AIR MILES® Reward Program Launched at Thrifty Foods

Thrifty Foods partnered with the AIR MILES® Reward Program to bring you better rewards. This made it possible for our customers to swipe their AIR MILES Collector Card at any Thrifty Foods location and earn 1 AIR MILES reward mile for every $20 spent. AIR MILES Cash provided customers the option to get $10 off their purchase when they redeemed 95 reward miles at the till or build their AIR MILES Dream balance and redeem towards vacations, electronics and more from the online Rewards Catalogue.


Grand Opening of The Hearth at Thrifty Foods

The Hearth grand opening marked us as the first grocery retailer in Canada to make and sell true artisan bread from scratch, in-store, using our own 'living' starter - Oscar. The new bakery at Thrifty Foods Admirals Walk was a pilot project that the team planned to bring to more stores on Vancouver Island in the future.


2012


Celebrating 35 Years in Business

Contests, free samples, events and storytelling marked the Thrifty Foods 35th Birthday - culminating in a December 1, 2012 customer, staff and media event that took place at the original store in Fairfield, Victoria. Special features of the event at Thrifty Foods Fairfield included a 3-tier cake (pictured) served by long-term staff members and a display of vintage photographs from days gone by. All 29 Thrifty Foods locations on Vancouver Island, Saltspring Island and the Lower Mainland served complimentary cake and coffee to their customers on December 1, and a special employee-centred photo contest was launched on our Facebook page the same day.


Thrifty Foods Opens 152,000 Square Foot Retail Support Centre

The Retail Support Centre was opened July 12, 2012 and was designed and constructed according to LEED-level principles and is estimated to save approximately 1.7 million kWh or the power equivalent of heating 150 B.C. homes per year. 

Sustainability and energy saving features include the integration of natural landscaping, state-of-the-art lighting, Forest Stewardship Council wood products, and water, waste, and energy monitoring and recycling systems. This 152,000 square foot Retail Support Centre (RSC) near the Victoria International Airport was operational the day it opened, servicing 19 Vancouver Island stores (20 with Crown Isle set to open in Courtenay in the fall of 2012), one on Saltspring Island, eight Lower Mainland locations and, through a wholesale division, more than 40 independent grocers province-wide.

2011


Thisfish Seafood Traceability Program Launched

A unique fish tagging system, thisfish.info, is launched in partnership with Vancouver-based non-profit Ecotrust Canada. The program helps customers trace certain species of fish from shore to door.


Jim Dores Appointed President of Thrifty Foods

A grocery industry veteran, Jim Dores brought 35 years of experience to Thrifty Foods along with his desire to create a personalized shopping experience and a connection with his community.


2010


Sobeys Announces a 150,000 sq ft Distribution Centre near the Victoria International Airport Authority

Sobeys Inc. announced the development of a $31-million distribution centre on 19 acres of land owned by the Victoria Airport Authority (VAA). Construction of the 150,000 square foot facility began in mid-2011 and was operational by late 2012.

First Metro Vancouver Store opens in North Vancouver

The Thrifty Foods North Vancouver store represented the sixth location on the Lower Mainland and the twenty-sixth for the organization since 1977.


Thrifty Foods' Nutrition for You Program Wins Regional Award

Thrifty Foods sponsored nutrition program Nutrition for You receives annual Speaking of Food and Healthy Living Award for our support of Canadians in their quest to eat healthier and be more active.

2009


Ocean Wise™ Partners with Thrifty Foods

As one of the largest companies to sign on to Ocean Wise, Thrifty Foods is proud to offer our customers a growing selection of sustainable, delicious Ocean Wise-approved seafood options. Ocean Wise is a Vancouver Aquarium conservation program created to educate and empower consumers about the issues surrounding sustainable seafood.

Club Thrifty Foods Points Program Launched

To make shopping at Thrifty Foods even more rewarding, Club Thrifty Foods card holders receive 1 point for every whole dollar spent. Club members redeem points for instant savings on their grocery bill right at the till, or for gifts and merchandise from our online rewards catalogue. Some restrictions apply.

2008


New Surrey Retail Support Centre Opens

The Surrey Retail Support Centre delivers its first produce order to our stores.


First Energy Efficient Store Opens in Port Moody

Thrifty Foods signed on to BC Hydro's New Construction Program and, through this collaborative partnership, built energy conservation features in the Suter Brook Village store in Port Moody. Today, this store uses 15% to 30% less energy than a conventional grocery store.


Food for Families Campaign Launched to Provide Fresh Food to Food Banks Across BC

As part of the Food For Families program, shoppers were able to purchase $5, $10 or $20 coupons at the till twice a year - at Christmas and around Canada Day. Thrifty Foods donated all of the funds to seventeen local area food banks located on Vancouver Island and throughout the Lower Mainland.


2007


Thrifty Foods Announces the Sale of the Company to Sobeys Inc.; Co-founder Alex A. Campbell Remains as Chairman Emeritus

After 30 years in the business, Thrifty Foods needed a significant amount of capital to remain the market leader in an increasingly competitive environment. In 2007, Thrifty Foods was sold to Sobeys Inc. Sobeys owns or franchises more than 1,300 stores in all 10 provinces under retail banners that include Sobeys, IGA, Foodland, FreshCo, and Thrifty Foods, as well as Lawton's Drug Stores. With more than 95,000 employees and affiliates, Sobeys goal is to be widely recognized as the best food retailer and workplace environment in Canada.

Thrifty Foods Celebrates 30 Years in Business



2006


First Carbon Neutral Store Opens in Coquitlam

Thrifty Foods takes an innovative step towards diminishing its carbon footprint by partnering with Tree Canada to open its 20th store in Coquitlam. Thrifty Foods plants 1,776 trees in Manning Provincial Park and Colony Farm Regional Park. This was enough trees to balance the carbon emissions generated by the store in a year.

2005


Thrifty Foods Partners with Power Smart

Thrifty Foods teams with BC Hydro to implement a range of Power Smart projects across many of its stores.


Thrifty Foods launched FRESH Magazine in stores

A seasonal magazine that celebrated all that is food, FRESH magazine arrived in stores quarterly.


2004


Smile Card Program Fundraiser Launched to Help Community

Thrifty Foods launches its unique Smile Card Program which provided qualifying organizations 5% cash back on each card user's grocery purchases.


Personalized Online Shopping Service Launched

Customers were able to shop online from the comfort of their own home to purchase over 10,000 Thrifty Foods products. An in-store personal shopper completed the order and, when required, arranged in-store or home delivery.

2003


Milford Sorensen Appointed President of Thrifty Foods

Milford Sorensen - a veteran grocery retailer with over 30 years of experience working for Dominion Stores, Atlantic Wholesalers Ltd., and Calgary Co-op - took the helm of Thrifty Foods. As President, Milford "grows the business to improve shareholder value while nurturing and continuing the unique Thrifty Foods culture that has shaped this company's success".


Thrifty Foods Named One of Canada's Best Managed Companies

Out of thousands of applicants, Thrifty Foods qualifies as one of Canada's Best Managed Companies.


2002


Thrifty Kitchens Opens in a Brand New 20,000 sq ft Food Production Facility

Having been in operation for over 20 years, Thrifty Kitchens expands to a new state-of-the-art food production centre. Thrifty Kitchens creates ready-to-eat, fresh food meal offerings for busy shoppers on the go.


1992


Thrifty Foods Expands to a Total of 9 Stores on Southern Vancouver Island

Thrifty Foods is opened in Fairfield (1977), Quadra (1980), Mill Bay (1983), Sidney (1984), James Bay (1986), Port Place Nanaimo (1988), Colwood (1990), Broadmead (1991), Parksville (1992). Thrifty Foods remained committed to focusing on the essentials: great products, customer-friendly service, community involvement, and treating employees with respect.

1991


Alex Campbell Assumes the Role of President


After 14 years in business together, the founders of Thrifty Foods -- Alex Campbell and Ernie Skinner -- part amicably and Alex assumes the role of President of Thrifty Foods.

First Organic Food Section Opened at Thrifty Foods Broadmead Location

Thrifty Foods begins to carry what will become the largest selection of Certified Organic products, including over 70 varieties of organic fruits and vegetables of any grocery chain in British Columbia. Today, we carry over hundreds of organic grocery items throughout our stores, including a variety of organic cheeses. 

1987


Shopping and Delivery Service for Seniors -- Sendial -- Launched in Fairfield

Thrifty Foods customer Prue Cunningham initiates a program to help seniors and shut-ins maintain their independence by enabling them to order their groceries via phone and have them delivered to their homes. Sendial is carried out by community-based volunteers who take orders and shop for fresh food, which is then delivered to those in need by our friendly Thrifty Foods drivers.

1983


First franchise opens in Mill Bay


1977


The First Thrifty Foods Opened in Victoria's Fairfield Community

Alex Campbell, in conjunction with friend and business colleague Ernie Skinner, open the first Thrifty Foods store located in Victoria's Fairfield community.

1973


Alex Campbell moves back to Vancouver Island (having grown up in Victoria) to open the 49th Parallel Grocery in Ladysmith



1950's


Entering the grocery industry in 1956 as a young student, Alex A. Campbell works his way up to become District Manager for Shop Easy stores in Vancouver.

"When I was 15 years old going to school, working in the supermarket was the best job you could have; it was the best pay and relatively clean, and there were lots of opportunities to meet people, you know, fellow employees and customers. When I started I was a pretty shy kind of kid, but you're going to have to get away from that to deal with customers, and so I think it certainly helped me in my personal development at that stage in my life. It was hard work but it was fun and we enjoyed it. We did all the jobs from cleaning washrooms to the front end service to managing departments and that sort of thing" - Alex A Campbell