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Twenty years as part of the local community

Thrifty Foods has a long history in Parksville, and they’re still going strong

Sunday was a very special day at Thrifty Foods says store manager Doug Riederer.

That’s because it was 20 years to the day that the Vancouver Island-based chain first opened its doors in Parksville.

Originally opened as a franchise by Clayton Baker in 1992, the store was bought back by the corporation just prior to its sale to Sobey’s about five years ago.

“This was our third or fourth franchise on the Island,” he said. “Alex Campbell bought back all the stores and then sold to Sobey’s. I came here about that time.”

Over the course of those two decades, Thrifty’s has made a point to be more than just a food outlet, but rather, an integral part of the community, eschewing many of the flashy, big name fundraisers for more local charitable efforts.

“There isn’t a week that goes by when there isn’t some request for support,” he said. “Whether it be with food or sponsorship, we support a lot of organizations, from the Salvation Army to the various food banks to sports teams, you name it.”

Riederer said he particularly likes to support sports teams in the schools, as he is aware of the ongoing funding issues in schools across the province.

“We really like to support the schools, sports teams, things like that on a weekly basis,” he said. “I really like to support the schools because there’s less and less funding every year. For instance, we give support to dry grad functions for both high schools.”

As well, he said Thrifty’s is a big supporter of local families through their Food for Families program at Christmas, wherein shoppers can purchase a bag of food, which is then passed on to the food bank by the store.

“It’s our customers that do it,” he said. “We just provide the vehicle.”

The expansion of the store over the past year from 24,000 to 35,000 square feet has proven to be a big hit with customers, he noted, but that support — remarkable though it was — came as little surprise.

“It was really well received by the community,” he said.