Quality Foods founders step down

Original owners transfer interest to Jim Pattison Group

For the first time since growing from an 8,000-square foot grocery store in Qualicum Beach into a 13-store chain spanning most of Vancouver Island, Quality Foods will no longer be owned by its original founders.

Last Friday, Quality Foods management announced founders Ken Schley and John Briuolo are transferring their controlling interest in the company to the Jim Pattison Group.

The announcement came after QF management held a meeting with staff Friday evening at the Qualicum Beach Civic Centre to notify them of the transfer of ownership. They also contacted suppliers and mailed letters to customers letting them know there would be no changes in the daily operation of the grocery store.

“Day-to-day operations will be led by Quality Foods co-founder Noel Hayward in the tradition of putting our QF customers, our QF people and our QF communities first,” Schley said in a written release. “It’s a people-based business, and John and I leave the company in the capable hands of some of the most talented people in the industry.”

The Vancouver-based Jim Pattison Group is a diversified holding company with ownership in businesses operating internationally across a spectrum of industries – including Save-On-Foods, which has stores competing with Quality Foods in multiple communities on the Island.

The Jim Pattison Group first purchased a non-controlling interest in Quality Foods eight years ago.

“Each one of Jim Pattison’s companies is a separate business, given the autonomy to maintain their own culture,” said Hayward, who assumes the role of company president for Quality Foods. “We’ll be accountable for what we do, of course. But we intend to carry on with our culture, our supplier relationships, our community involvement and hope to maintain our customer loyalty.

“What we’ve seen in the last eight years with the Pattison Group being strategic partner, they’ve never once been involved in day-to-day operations.”

Over those eight years, though, Quality Foods has undergone a substantial investment in both expansion and improvement of properties, Hayward said.

QF made its first foray into the Victoria grocery market with the opening of two stores on the West Shore, first in Langford then in View Royal’s Eagle Creek Village, and has completed or commenced major renovations at its stores in Comox, Qualicum Beach and at the Turner Road location in Nanaimo, Hayward added.

Next up is a large reno in Port Alberni, followed by the construction of two new stores. A new Nanaimo store, on Harewood Road near Vancouver Island University, is scheduled to open in September 2018. After that, QF will construct a flagship store in Parksville, at the corner of Despard Avenue and Alberni Highway, to replace its existing store on Highway 19A.

“For me, this is kind of like a celebration of what they’ve been able to accomplish over 35 years, going from one store with 14 people to now, over 1,000 people in our company,” Hayward said of Schley and Briuolo.

“We didn’t realize it at the time, but Ken is a visionary leader, and has been for the last 35 years.”

Among its innovations in the industry, Hayward said, Quality Foods was the first grocer in Canada to introduce a points card, was the first to offer online grocery shopping, and introduced a phone app that lets customers enter an item directly to the check-out till.

Hayward said the company is proud of a cultural heritage that includes part-time employees sharing in its benefits package and a fully funded pension plan.

“Ken and I will always be grateful for the relationships we have made in the community and proud of the accomplishments of our people,” said Briuolo. “We appreciate everyone who has worked alongside us, inside and outside the company, to build something special. It’s a unique company and a unique story, and this isn’t the end of it by any means.”

Just Posted

Parksville Qualicum Beach crime report: Suspect identified after theft of safe

Oceanside RCMP received 254 complaints the week of Nov. 24-30

Parksville swimmer Bennett has sights set on 2020 Para Olympics

Canadian coach impressed with rapid progress of world-record holder

RDN board votes to continue webcasting meetings despite low viewership

Staff to report back to RDN board about live-streamed meetings in time for 2021 budget discussions

Manna hands out gift cards to those in need in Parksville Qualicum Beach area

Volunteers say it makes a big difference during the holidays

VIDEO: Success of wildlife corridors in Banff National Park has advocates wanting more

Demand for more highway protection escalated after seven elk were killed by a semi-trailer near Canmore

Pacioretty scores 2, Golden Knights top Canucks 6-3

Vegas goalie Fleury gets win No. 452

B.C. VIEWS: Hunger does not end with the season

Despite innovations in food distribution, the need is still there in B.C. communities

Fans sing Canadian anthem after sound system breaks at BMW IBSF World Cup

The Canadians in attendance made sure their team and flag were honoured on the podium

VIDEO: Fire destroys Big White Ski Resort chalet

Social media eulogies peg the property, nicknamed “The Pharamacy,” as both loved and hated

Prince George RCMP use bait packages to catch porch pirates over the holidays

First-in-Canada program with Amazon looks to combat parcel theft

Nanaimo mechanical engineer creates thief tracking program

Nanaimo Thief Tracking lets users plot and share information about thefts online

Mayor wants B.C. to institutionalize severely mental ill people who are homeless

Those suffering from mental health conditions, such as schizophrenia, need specialized care, mayor says

Most Read