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CFIG reveals 2023 Life Member Award, Spirit of the Independent Award winners

Summerhill Market’s Christy McMullen, Maple Leaf Foods’ Curtis Frank and Pattison Food Group’s Darrell Jones recognized

Summerhill Market’s Christy McMullen and Maple Leaf FoodsCurtis Frank have been announced as the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers’ (CFIG) 2023 Life Member Award winners. 

CFIG also named Darrell Jones, president of Pattison Food Group, as the recipient of the 2023 Spirit of the Independent Award. 

The organization’s Life Member designation honours those individuals who have made a significant contribution to the food industry, while the Spirit of the Independent Award recognizes “individuals who have made significant contributions to the growth of the entrepreneurial spirit of Canadian Grocers and have provided inspiration to Canada’s independent grocers.” The Spirit of the Independent Award is not an annual award.  

McMullen’s grandfather founded Summerhill Market in 1954, where the now-owner spent her youth. As a teenager, she helped with the store’s accounting, and later became a chartered accountant before spending several years in Bermuda working for KPMG.

READ: Summerhill Market's fashionable move

In 2003, she returned to Summerhill. Today, she presides over five locations and serves as the chair of the board of the Ontario Food Terminal. McMullen has also been an active CFIG board participant, and previously served as chair from 2018 to 2020.

Frank, president and CEO of Maple Leaf Foods, began his career at the company 23 years ago when he joined as a sales representative in Saskatchewan. He was soon promoted, and relocated to Calgary, where he lived for 10 years and continued to move up through the ranks. 

He has also served as a member of CFIG’s Associate Members Council. 

Finally, Jones has spent his entire career at the company he now presides over. He got his start in the industry as a teenager working at the local Overwaitea store in Cranbrook, B.C.

From there, Jones went on to work at 23 stores in the chain and rose through the ranks of what is now Save-On-Foods to become regional manager, then vice-president.  In 2012, he was promoted to president of Save-On-Foods. 

Jones committed to sourcing food from local growers and is also an advocate for Western Canada’s grocery industry on both the national and international stages. 

READ: Western ambition

In recognition of his contributions to Canada’s grocery industry, Jones received the prestigious  Golden Pencil Award in 2017. In 2021, he was named president of the newly-formed Pattison  Food Group, a Jim Pattison business comprising food, drug, wholesale and specialty retail operations with more than 30,000 employees and more than 280 stores. 

Jones actively participates on numerous industry boards and with the BC Children’s Hospital Foundation, for which he is the board chair.

Winners will be officially recognized at the Canadian Independent Grocer of the Year awards gala on Oct. 25 at Grocery Innovations Canada (GIC) 2023. GIC runs from Oct. 24 to 25 at the Toronto Congress Centre. 

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