Siblings Zane

Siblings Zane

Thrifty Foods celebrates 40th birthday

Cake and a nostalgic look at the 1970s highlighted the festivities at Thrifty Foods in Parksville

Thrifty Foods celebrated its 40th birthday in stores across Vancouver Island, and staff at the Parksville store lived up to the saying that it’s better to give than to receive.

The event offered customers and visitors free coffee, cookies and birthday cake — five large sheet cakes were prepared to make sure nobody was left out during the seven-hour bash — and other free samples in various departments of the store, which hosted a steady stream of traffic.

“It’s been great,” store manager Bill Rutledge said midway through the party. “It’s been crazy here all day.”

Entertainment was provided for the kids in the form of Shayne King, the “King of Magic”, and for the adults with a Price is Right 1977 trivia game that quizzed contestants on their recollection of prices of certain store items at the time the grocery chain opened with its first store in the Victoria area.

Many store staff garbed themselves in the sartorial splendor of the 70s, with leisure suites, tie-dyed shirts and shiny jackets with giant lapels all in evidence. Assistant store manager Keith Przada and manager Bill Rutledge sported giant permed wigs and name tags designating the, respectively, as “Chico” and “The Man” in a nod to the popular TV sitcom of the day.

Community partners also took part. The Beach FM 88.5 and The Lounge 99.9 FM both broadcast from the store, and volunteers at the cake cutting and serving table included members of the Parksville Lions Club and Courtenay-Alberni MP Gord Johns.

“It’s kind of sentimental for me, because I’m born and raised on Vancouver Island and from Victoria,” said Johns.

“I’ve been around Thrifty Foods most of my life; my parents shopped there. In our communities, they employ 400 people between the two stores in Courtenay and here in Parksville. Their contributions are significant and they’ve been great leaders in terms of corporate social responsibility. It’s a real pleasure to join their staff and join the community in celebrating this business today.”

— NEWS Staff