Canadian Trade Group Honors Standout Independents

TORONTO - The Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers (CFIG) presented its Canadian Independent Grocer of the Year Awards this week during the Grocery Innovations Canada 2006 conference here.

This year's winner in the "Best Grocery Store in Canada/Large Surface" category is Longo Brothers Fruit Markets, Inc. of Markham, Ontario. Longo's operates 15 stores, and each location has its own character, the trade association said.
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It said it selected Longo's because of store manager Vince Tortorici. "A dynamic and enthusiastic individual, the personality of Vince Tortorici permeates every aspect of Longo's Markham," the trade group said in a statement. "In this cookie-cutter world, Longos' Markham and its store manager have created a true destination store. Longo's Markham serves a culturally diverse community. Vince and his team are continuously adjusting their product offerings to serve the tastes of a wide variety of customers. With a huge selection and great staff, Longo's Markham is the epitome of a successful and friendly independent grocery store."

The "Best Medium Surface Grocer" award went to Garden Market IGA of Forest, Ontario. Forest, Ontario is a small resort town at the southern end of Lake Huron with a population of 2,800. The Garden Market IGA that serves this community gives its customers as much choice and quality as the big city stores, according to CFIG. Dave Delchiaro bought the store just over 20 years ago. While the population has remained fairly stable, Garden Market IGA has expanded twice. Product knowledge is considered the key to his success. As an example, Dave stocks 45 brands of extra-hot chili sauces alone.

The "Best Small Surface Grocer" for 2006 is Alimentation D.P. Plouffe, Inc. of Farnham, Quebec. The store opened in 1981 and was renovated in 1998 to better serve its customers who come from the heartland in the eastern townships of Quebec.

"Customers have grown to depend on Ailmentation D.P. Plouffe in Farnham, where friendly staff and quality products are at the cornerstone of their success," noted CFIG. "For a rural store, Ailmentation D.P. Plouffe offers a cosmopolitan mix of deli, fresh produce, and meat and seafood. A store that truly reflects the community it serves, Ailmentation D.P. Plouffe is a focal point in the community."

The "Best Specialty Store Grocer" is Choices Market White Rock, in Surrey, British Columbia. CFIG called it "one of the most unique grocery retail operations in Canada." Choices Market White Rock features gourmet groceries, organic and natural foods, much of it grown locally, quality vitamins, and herbs. More unusual products include hemp clothing, no-battery flashlights, and 100 percent recycled art that decorates the store's walls. The store uses energy-saving lights in combination with as much natural light as possible to lower energy costs. Even the paint and the flooring used in the store are environmentally friendly.

The 2006 Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers Life Member Award was presented to executives in two separate categories. In the Independent Grocer Category, Lawrence Lanovaz of Lanovaz Bigway Foods was recognized. In the Industry Builder category, the honorees were John McClelland, corporate v.p., consumer business, Scott Paper Ltd., and Ralph Robinson, president of Weston Foods.

Finally, the 2006 Spirit of the Independent Award was presented to a person whose name is familiar to most U.S. retailers: Dr. Thomas S. Haggai, chairman and c.e.o. of IGA, Inc.
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