By Carol Neshevich
In front of a gala audience of more than 500 leading grocers, suppliers and distributors, the 53rd Annual Canadian Independent Grocer of the Year Awards were presented in Toronto on Sept. 29, 2015.
Presented by the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers (CFIG), this awards program recognizes the success of outstanding independent grocery retailers.
The National Gold Award winners for Top Independent Grocer of the Year for 2015 were: Save-On-Foods – Seton, Calgary, Alta. (Large Surface); Freson Bros. – Barrhead, Barrhead, Alta. (Medium Surface); Concord Food Centre, Thornhill, Ont. (Small Surface); and Summerhill Market, Toronto, Ont. (Specialty Category-David C. Parsons award).
CFIG also presented Peggy Hamilton and Jim Hamilton of Hamilton’s IGA in Ponoka, Alta., with the Arnold Rands Heritage Award. The award is given to the year’s best multi-generational store that is privately owned, and that has been in the same family for at least two generations, in the same community for 35 years.
This year, CFIG also inducted the following grocers into the Hall of Fame: Central Butte Fine Foods (Central Butte, Sask.); Choices Markets White Rock (South Surrey, B.C.); Masstown Market (Masstown, N.S.); Quality Foods (Campbell River, B.C.); and Sunripe (London, Ont.). To be eligible for Hall of Fame induction, a store must win at least three Gold Awards or receive one Platinum Achievement Award and one Gold Award.
Every year, independent grocery stores from across Canada compete for the Canadian Independent Grocer of the Year title in each of the specialty, large-, medium- and small-surface categories. Each competing store is visited personally by a retail management expert who evaluates them based on retailing excellence and innovation, store team performance, customer service, space utilization, freshness and cleanliness.