Thrifty Foods is an iconic grocery store here on Vancouver Island. They value community and have been a part of local events and causes since opening their first store in 1977. We caught up with Thrifty Foods for a quick Q and A session and talked about what they are excited for in the future, community events, and of course bread!
How long have you been in operation?
We have been in business since 1977 – almost 40 years! In 2017 we are looking forward to celebrating our 40th birthday with our team and our customers.
How many locations do you have? And where are you located?
We grew from one Thrifty Foods in the Fairfield neighbourhood of Victoria in 1977 to 25 stores across Vancouver Island and the Lower Mainland today.
We have nine stores in Victoria, two stores in Courtenay, two stores in Nanaimo, and a store in Sidney, Mill Bay, Colwood, Duncan, Parksville, Campbell River, Salt Spring Island, Tsawwassen, Port Moody, Surrey, North Vancouver, and Maple Ridge.
What type of products do you sell?
We are a full-service grocery store, also offering a wide-variety of local, natural and organic products. Over the years we have become known and trusted by our customers for our fresh departments with Ocean Wise seafood, Premium Sterling Silver Beef, and the highest quality of produce we can get our hands on. We do our best to always pick BC first when choosing our products! We also offer a selection of ready-to-eat snacks and ready-to-pop-in-the-oven meals prepared fresh from our own Thrifty Kitchens in Saanichton, BC.
What is something unique to your business you are excited about?
Our Mission is to be Canada’s better food destination by helping Canadians Eat Better, Feel Better, and Do Better. This goes beyond just our product offering and recipes. We have an in-house Registered Dietitian who provides support to our customers and teams as well as a Sendial Volunteer Shopping Program, which provides a shopping and home delivery service for customers unable to shop in-store independently. We have our own Smile Card Fundraising Program as well that provides 5% back on the dollars loaded onto Smile Card Gift Cards to participating groups. To date, we have donated more than $6,000,000 to local schools, sports teams, charities, and no-profit organizations.
What are you up to in 2016?
Earlier this year we re-launched our new integrated website and Online Grocery Shopping platform, which has lots of great new features to help make shopping, saving, cooking and eating healthy easier for our customers! We have some new pilot projects in our stores, including “The Pickle Sandwich Bar” in our Sidney location, “The Scoop Bulk Boutique” in our Broadmead and Admirals locations, and a Dry Aged Beef program also in our Broadmead location. These are just the start of the exciting product offerings our team is working on and we can’t wait to share with our customers.
2016 has been a busy year for our Community Team and stores! We have been involved in over 300 community events and initiatives so far and are looking forward to many more to come.
What is your favourite Portofino Product?
As our original roots are from Vancouver Island, we are a little biased and are huge fans of the Vancouver Island Harvest Bread loaf as it is made with wheat from the Island and milled right on site. Our Head Office is in Saanichton, so it’s pretty amazing to walk past the Portofino wheat field and know that it is being baked into bread at the Portofino bakery just a few blocks away and delivered to our stores fresh shortly afterwards. Now that’s local!
What do you love most about your customers?
We love our customers’ passion for food, community involvement, and high-level of standards they hold us to – they always keep us on our toes! They continuously support and encourage us to be as sustainable, locally-focused, and cutting-edge with product selection as we possibly can be and ensure our quality and standards are top-notch. They are strong community supporters and help us rally for any local causes. Many of them have been shopping with us since the day we first opened our doors, and feel like an extended part of the Thrifty Foods family!
Portofino products are sold at all Thrifty Foods on Vancouver Island, as well as Saltspring Island and Morgan Crossing the in the Lower Mainland. To find out more about Thrifty Foods check out their website: https://www.thriftyfoods.com/