CFIG announces 2012 Life Members


Brent Battistelli, chair of Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers, John F.T. Scott, President and CEO, and the CFIG board of directors announced 2012 Life Members yesterday.

The following industry leaders will be honoured:

Peter Singer of Thomas, Large & Singer;

Ernie Skinner of The Markets On Yates and Millstream;

Yuri Stezenko of Quality Market;

Glen Wilson of Crossmark Canada.

Peter Singer joined Thomas, Large and Singer in 1977, working his way through several positions before becoming president in 1986 and CEO in 1999.

When TLS sold its retail brokerage operations to Acosta in 2002, Singer was appointed as the president of Acosta Canada which was in addition to his responsibilities at TLS. Singer continued in his role with Acosta Canada until 2006 when he returned to TLS on a full-time basis.

Singer has been very active in the industry, acting as a board member and, in many cases chairing committees such as the GS1 Canada, Ontario Food Brokers Association, Canadian Food Brokers Association, Association of Sales and Marketing Companies of the US, and Canadian Grocer's magazine editorial board.

Among his accomplishments, Singer is exceptionally proud to have been awarded the prestigious Golden Pencil Award in 2008 from the Food Industry Association of Canada.

Ernie Skinner’s first job in the grocery industry was with Safeway, from there he went on to Colwood Corners Shop-Easy and at the age of 21 Ernie was promoted to Manager at the Hillside Shop-Easy before being transferred to Duncan, BC to manage the Shop-Easy there in 1963.

Skinner partnered with good friend Alex Campbell in 1977 to purchase a closed Safeway store in Fairfield, B.C., and opened the very first Thrifty Foods location on December 1, 1977.
In 1991, with 7 locations and a warehouse, Skinner announced his retirement just as the 8th store was about to open. As of October 2011, the chain operates 27 stores and is the largest supermarket chain on Vancouver Island.

He opened the Market On Yates in Victoria,  in November 1999 a store focused on fresh, local, organic, gourmet, conventional, and hard to find items requested by local customers.

In 2006, Ernie’s journey would officially come full circle as he partnered with his daughter Christine and son-in-law Darryl Hein to open the Market On Millstream on the same street that he grew up on as a child, in Langford, B.C.

In March of 1949, Yuri Stezenko came to Canada at the age of nine. His family fled the Communist regime and the second Great War. They settled in the small village of Hurkett, Ont., and Stezenko began his education in a small one-room school. Five years later, the family moved to Port Arthur, Ont. (now called Thunder Bay.)

It was there that he began his grocery career, when he was hired by Canada Safeway as a courtesy clerk.

After more than thirty years, managing numerous stores and acting as relief district manager, Stezenko was offered an opportunity to open his own store.
This lined up well with his passion to serve his community and his life-long desire to have his own business and Quality Market was born in 1988, and seven years later another store was acquired.

He could not have envisioned a state-of-the-art Quality Market Fresh store providing fresh and prepared foods for shut-ins and busy professionals, nor on-line shopping for local customers and as an outreach to northern communities. After more than 49 years in the grocery business, Stezenko retired and turned the stores over to his two sons, David and Dan.

Glen Wilson's career within the grocery industry spans four decades and his knowledge, influence and experience have left a lasting impression on several organizations and industry leaders, including Crossmark Canada, General Foods and Kraft Foods.

Wilson began his career as a clerk in the dairy section of a Winnipeg Safeway store. He left Safeway for a sales representative position for General Foods. Then, in 1975 at the age of 25, he purchased an independent grocery store in Niverville, Man.

After two years in retail, he went back into sales for General Foods where he rose through the ranks from District Sales Manager to National Sales Manager. After working on the Kraft/General Foods merger, Wilson was promoted to Director of Sales for the Atlantic and Western regions.

In 1991, he was appointed Vice President of Sales and soon was promoted to Vice President of Sales and General Manager - Kraft Foods Canada.

In 1998, Wilson left Kraft and started his own company, National Links, with his partners Brian Carley and Bruce Forbes–a business that grew with the help of brands such as Ben & Jerry's and Humpty Dumpty potato chips. In 1999, the trio partnered with Crossmark and became the first truly national company in the Canadian broker industry.

Beginning in 1999 with a small group of 32 dedicated employees the company has since grown to more than 1,200 Crossmark associates today; Glen's leadership was instrumental in the success and growth of Crossmark Canada.

All Life Member designates will be feted on Oct. 1 at Grocery Innovations Canada 2012, during CFIG’s Luncheon of Honour at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.

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