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2004 Canadian Independent Grocer of the Year Awards Presented

TORONTO - At a ceremony last week at Grocery Innovations Canada, the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers (CFIG) presented three sets of annual awards for retail excellence among independent and franchised stores: Canadian Independent Grocer of the Year Awards, CFIG Master Merchandising Awards, and the Arnold Rands Heritage Award.

The winners are:

Best Large-Surface Grocer - Jeff Ackinclose, owner, Thrifty Foods #15 Admiral's Walk, Victoria, B.C.
The five-year-old store offers a wide selection of products and is renowned for the freshness of its produce, meat, deli, seafood and bakery departments. It was also the first grocery store in the Canada to offer fresh made-on-site

Best Medium-Surface Grocer - Cori Bonina, president, Stong's Markets Ltd., Vancouver
Since its founding in 1910, Stong's has offered home delivery, which is a special advantage to local seniors. More recently, the store was the first in British Columbia to provide online grocery shopping.

Best Small-Surface Grocer - John Davits, owner, Pepper's Foods, Victoria, B.C.
The store, which has continually improved its services, recently added a full-service deli, in-store bakery, and full-service meat counter. One of its biggest attractions for those on a budget is the single-serve packaging available in oven-ready meals, specialty meats, and seafood selections. Last year Pepper's placed first in the CFIG competition among all small-surface grocery stores in the British Columbia/Yukon region, and it earned second place nationally.

Best Specialty Store Grocer - Will and Ingrid Willemsen, Sunripe Farms Produce, Sarnia, Ont.
Customers are welcomed at Sunripe with an ambiance that invites them to choose from a cornucopia of produce from all over the world. Sunripe caters to customers' entertainment needs by stocking variety of selected meats, frozen seafood, deli items, and bakery products, all complemented by "Sunripe's Own" brand of salad dressings, preserves, and grocery products.

CFIG also annually recognizes exceptional grocer promotions with Master Merchandising Awards. One of these winners received a Platinum designation for best overall merchandising:

Grocery/Dry Goods Category - Platinum Award Winner - Bill Flynn, Quality Foods, Port Alberni, B.C.
Quality Foods used its banner status as official grocery supplier to the 2004 B.C. Winter Games as an opportunity to stage a product promotion called "Let the Games Begin." The five-week in-store promotion generated incremental store sales gains of 20 percent.

Cross Merchandising Award Winner - Peter Chalick, Freson IGA, Grand Prairie, Alta.
"Campfest 2004" was a camping-themed promotion that motivated customers to stock up while raising $400 for the Kev's Kids charity. The colorful in-store event featured displays of canoes and camping scenes, accompanied by special events such as hot-dog eating contests, draws, and product demonstrations. Sales of featured products rose by more than 10 percent during the promotion.

Nonfood/HBA Award Winner - Gary and Dina Edwards and Don McWilliam, Listowel Foodland, Listowel, Ont.
Listowel Foodland raised funds and awareness for Habitat for Humanity's new local Re-Store by working with Habitat sponsor Unilever on a display of bathroom products using real bathroom equipment. Habitat for Humanity's Re-Store supplied bathroom fixtures (which were cleaned with VIM) and positioned them in a high-traffic area for two weeks. The tub was filled with Scott Towels and Vim products, and 25 cents of every purchase was donated to the charity. The event raised $300 for Listowel's Habitat Re-Store, and it increased overall HBA store sales by 22 percent.

Perishables Award Winner- Merlin Kropf and Bob Harron, Kropf's IGA, Fergus, Ont.
Kropf's annual BBQ for a Cure promotion successfully integrated the efforts of store staff and 11 food companies to build store traffic and raise funds for the Fergus Chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Society (CFS). The six-week event, merchandised with an outdoor-barbeque theme, earned $725 for CFS and returned a sell-through of 72 percent on featured products.

The 2004 Arnold Rands Heritage Award Winners were Charlie, Jamie, and Christopher Briscoe, Briscoe's Loeb, Renfrew, Ont. This award is presented annually to the best multi-generational grocery store. To be considered, a store must be privately owned and have been in the same family for at least two generations and in the same community for a minimum of 35 years. Although their store banners have changed several times over 54 years of operation, the Briscoe family and their grocery store remain a cornerstone for the vitality of Renfrew's business district.

The Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers is a nonprofit trade association founded with the purpose of furthering the unique interests of Canada's independently owned and franchised supermarkets.
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