FRANCHISE OPERATOR IN TRAINING
Jason Vesely’s education in the grocery business began early. “I was a few years old when my parents got a grocery store – and so, you could say I’ve spent my whole life in one,” he says.
Initially, he would play under the desk in his father’s office. As Vesely grew up, however, he bagged groceries, re-stocked shelves and got to know customers. It didn’t feel like work.
“It’s always been fun,” he says. “With grocery being seasonal, there’s always something exciting going on.”
Earning a bachelor’s degree in commerce at MacEwan University in 2019, Vesely became the first student in Western Canada to complete the Sobeys Store Manager in Training (MIT) franchise program. His plan is to take over his parents’ Sobeys store in Westlock, Alta., a town just north of Edmonton.
“People don’t grow up thinking, ‘I want to sell groceries,’” he says. “But it is rewarding work. And I think programs like Sobeys MIT will bring in more young people, contributing continuity and growth to the industry.”
Vesely is also part of a new committee with the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers tasked with helping the sector attract and retain the next generation of talent.