Posts Tagged ‘grocery’

Stong’s Market

Wednesday, June 21st, 2017

A Grand Return to Dunbar.

It was a perfect spring day – the sun was shining, music was playing and it felt like a big Dunbar block party when Stong’s Market officially re-opened on May 13.

John Roden, Stong’s marketing manager reports, “It was great to see the fun and excitement as kids were high-fiving Spiderman and people were spinning the prize wheel. We couldn’t have asked for a better grand re-opening celebration.”

There was a noticeable absence in the neighbourhood last May when the grocery store closed due to redevelopment of the 4500 block of Dunbar Street. Remarkably, Stong’s was only gone for seven months while the new location at West 27th Avenue and Dunbar Street was being completed.

This is the fourth time Stong’s has relocated on Dunbar Street in 62 years.

Stongs Market Cori Bonina Dunbar LifeThe original 1955 location was situated where BMO now resides. In 1960 Stong’s moved to 4326 Dunbar (now home to Shoppers Drug Mart). In 1980 it moved south to its former location across from Dunbar Theatre. The new Stong’s is in almost the same location as the original 1955 store.

Stong’s president and owner Cori Bonina holds the honour of being the fourth generation owner of this family business. Her great grandfather Carson Stong opened the first Stong’s Market in the early 1890s in Toronto with his brother Joe. With the onset of the Depression in 1931, Carson moved to Vancouver and set up two of the first open-air markets in Vancouver. His son Ralph opened the first Vancouver Stong’s Market in 1955.

Ralph’s son-in law Bill Rossum (Cori’s father) took over as general manager in 1971. Cori joined forces with her father and became general manager in 1997; she took over as president in 2001. Her son Carson is carrying on the family legacy; he is the manager of Stong’s new Northwood location in North Vancouver.

2016 was a monumental year for Stong’s. The Northwood location opened in May and in December the Dunbar village store had a soft re-opening.

Frank Rainey, director of store operations, mentions that designing Stong’s from the ground up was a wonderful opportunity. He says, “We are proud to have evolved into a 21st century grocery store where customers can expect an elevated shopping experience.”

Stongs Market butcher Dunbar LifeThe attractive Dunbar village store has increased in size by 6,000 square feet and features modern elements such as concrete floors, exposed ceilings and a West Coast feel through the use of wood panelled walls, but at the same time the past is still very much present. Champion, the beloved coin-operated horse, awaits eager young riders. John says, “Parents bring their children to ride on the horse they rode as a child.” Historical photos are also nicely integrated to celebrate the store’s rich past. Another nod to the past is a free cookie at the bakery for little ones.

Specialized departments surround the periphery of the shop. If you are looking for magnificent floral arrangements head to Stems, located at the store’s entrance. Five floral designers are on staff to create wow factor custom bouquets.

The introduction of a stone oven pizza is proving to be a big hit, as is Edibles, the expanded deli where customers can choose from a large selection of take home prepared foods including many offerings from Stong’s own brand, Cori’s Kitchen. Frank mentions that Stong’s roasted chicken continues to be one of the favorites with their customers.

In a rush and need to grab a meal on the go? Head to the panini counter or pick up some freshly made sushi. If baked goods are on your shopping list the in house bakery is sure to please. As a side note, the tantalizing aromas circulating from the various departments can lead you on a hunt to track down what’s cooking.

Tip: There is plenty of spacious free underground parking on site.

A wide selection of products from major national brands to an extensive selection of unique, gourmet, natural and organic products can be found. Stong’s takes pride in supporting local suppliers of all sizes; work is well under way to expand the selection of local produce as they have been reaching out to a lot of local farmers.

Stong’s also supports many local small suppliers looking to develop their product; it was the first store to offer Lesley Stowe Raincoast Crisp crackers, which are now sold throughout North America.

“Stong’s staff are passionate about their departments. They love what they do.” Frank Rainey

As anyone who shops at Stong’s knows, it is a community hub where you run into friends and neighbours in the aisles. With the introduction of Replenish café, customers can catch up over an impromptu coffee and light snack. On warm days roll up garage doors open with additional seating outdoors.

Stongs Market Cori Pizza Dunbar LifeNo time to go grocery shopping or perhaps you can’t make it out of your house? No worries, Stong’s Express is an online shopping service which offers next day delivery to most of the Lower Mainland with dedicated personal shoppers and trucks on the road seven days a week.

John aptly points out, “Stong’s is the heart of the community. There is an emotional connection to this store.” Without a doubt, Stong’s short-term closure reinforced Dunbar residents’ vested interest in their market. They love to shop locally and support independent businesses, and are extremely happy to have their favourite grocery store back.

Stong’s Market
4221 Dunbar Street
Vancouver, BC V6S 2G1
Telephone 604-266-1401
www.stongs.com

Save-On-Foods Dunbar

Tuesday, June 21st, 2016

Save-on-foods-dunbar-checkout-palla-mediaA flurry of activity took place for six weeks to prepare for the May 14 grand opening of Save-On-Foods new location on West 41 Avenue. Two days prior to the big day, store manager Randy Nerling took time to discuss the impressive renovations and what the neighbourhood can expect from the new grocery store.

The transformation of the former IGA began at the end of March. At the same time Overwaitea Food Group, owned by Jim Pattison, purchased two other Vancouver IGAs on the east side, which have also been converted to Save-On-Food stores.

“There’s a buzz in the neighbourhood. I believe this store will be well received.” Randy Nerling

Save-on-foods-dunbar-Randy-Nerling-palla-mediaContractors, Save-On-Food’s head office support team and regional specialists worked around the clock to reach the mid-May opening goal. In that time the shop received an exterior and interior facelift consisting of painting, lighting, flooring, fixtures and refurbishing refrigeration equipment.

Nerling laughs when he reports, “It was looking so good three days prior to opening that one customer entered the store and was trying to shop until he realized he was surrounded by people in construction hats.”

In addition to the physical changes a key part of the time was used to transition the former IGA staff who were automatically transferred over if they wished to stay. New systems, programs and cash registers needed to be learnt. The majority of former employees and management joined Save-On-Foods and additional new staff were recruited to round out the team.

Nerling comments, “They possess an abundance of experience and knowledge which they offer the company.”

Save-on-foods-dunbar-1-palla-mediaThe opening is exciting for Save-On-Foods fans as the only other location in the area is at UBC. What can customers expect to find at this new store? While the square footage is smaller than a regular Save-On-Foods, the design team managed to accommodate an extra aisle to ensure that some of the best-loved products would find their way to the shelves. The house label, Western Family is showcased alongside popular brand name favourites, offering added value while keeping exceptional quality to its name. Darrell’s Deals are hand picked weekly by Save-On-Foods’ president and offer impressive savings on popular products.

A new feature called “six mix” specialty soda pop allows customers to mix and match a customized six-pack.

A premium floral section features high quality fresh cut bouquets and single stem flowers for custom-made designs. A deli and meat counter along with seafood selections are showcased with a butcher on hand to assist in choosing what you would like for dinner that night. With plans to expand its offering, phase two of the renovation includes a bakery and a restaurant style section featuring hot foods.

Save-on-foods-dunbar-fresh-palla-mediaBeing a 100 per cent locally owned company distinguishes Save-On-Foods from other grocery stores. Since its early beginnings in 1915 the company has taken pride in partnering with local producers including Alberta beef farmers and produce farmers as close by as Delta. When in season Save-On-Foods features and promotes these producers through signage and campaigns. ‘In store everyday’ is the shop local display that features products from all over our province.

The Dunbar store offers a unique service called Click and Connect. This online shopping program allows shoppers to pay from the comfort of their smart phone or computer. Pull up in the parking lot and the purchase will be delivered directly to your car at an arranged time.

Giving back to the community is a large part of Save-On-Foods mandate. Schools, sports teams, community events, clubs and the biggest benefactor, B.C. Children’s Hospital, are all generously assisted by the company.
Fundraising to assist those affected by the Fort McMurray wildfires has been high on the list of priorities. Nerling says, “Trailer upon trailer has been sent, loaded with food hampers.”

“The heartbeat of the company is to give back. It’s what we do.” Randy Nerling

Giving back also resonates for Nerling on a personal level. He has recently been nominated to sit on the Dunbar Village Business Association’s board of directors and is excited to attend their Annual General Meeting on June 15.

Nerling was hand picked as the new store manager. With 25 years’ experience there is no question that he was the person to oversee the renovation and transition the former IGA staff into their new roles as Save-On-Foods employees.

He shares a story akin to president Darrell Jones who worked his way up the ladder from bagging groceries as a part-time job in high school. Nerling got his start as a high school student stocking shelves in Nanaimo.

Save-on-foods-dunbar-store-palla-mediaExtremely supportive of its employees, Save-On-Foods recognizes the talented and committed people working for the company by offering management courses, university credited leadership courses and even scholar-ships for team members and their families. He says, “Our people are home grown and have been with the company for a long time.”

Nerling is excited to have made the move from Richmond’s Price Smart (also an Overwaitea affiliate) to Dunbar, which he describes as “a nice little community.”

Welcome to the neighbourhood, Save-On-Foods.

Save-On-Foods
3535 W 41st Avenue
Vancouver BC V6N 3B8
Telephone 604-261-2423

www.saveonfoods.com