Jeff and Shannon Rowe reluctantly attended a grocery industry awards banquet in Toronto last fall – and came away the surprised recipients of a hat trick of industry awards.
The Rowes’ have received accolades on an almost annual basis for the operation of their independent grocery store in Keremeos. They are approaching 40 years at the same location at the corner of Seventh Avenue and Seventh Street, and this year’s honours at the Canadian Independent Grocer of the Year Awards banquet represents the culmination of a lifetime devoted to the business for Jeff, who is passing on the business operations to his daughter, Shannon.
The pair won three awards within the small size category this year (a category of 800 grocers) – heritage, merit and achievement awards in the form of the CFIG’s Diamond Achievement Award, the Arnold Rands Heritage Award and the Award of Merit.
The Arnold Rands Heritage Award is given to the best multigeneraltional grocery store that is privately owned and has been in the same family for at least two generations and in the same community for a minimum of 35 years.
“We originally opted out of attending this convention in Toronto,” explained Shannon, who noted that the CFIG normally hosts two such venues a year. “We had some encouragement to reconsider, and eventually decided to go. We consider it a great honour to receive this.”
The Rowes have been an integral part of the grocery business in the Lower Similkameen since 1972, when they purchased the store which was then a part of the Super Valu chain. Jeff eventually replaced that store with the present one in 1992, taking on an IGA franchise for several years before going independent under the Valu Plus moniker.
The Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers (CFIG) Awards Program recognizes the success of outstanding independent retailers. through the conduct of unannounced audits that score the store in a variety of categories that include such things as customer service, staff, department management, store layout, merchandising, creativity, cleanliness, and community involvement.