Quoi de neuf?

5/16/2012

Quoi de neuf dans la Belle Province?  (What's new?)

This will be the theme of my blog over the next few months as I give you my insights and observations on what is happening in the food industry in Quebec.  I will also comment on the deployment of new technological advancements within our industry.

My name is François Bouchard and I was born in Montreal but worked in Ontario throughout my career. For the past 17 years I have operated a retail and virtual supermarket in the Nation’s Capital under the banner of The Country Grocer and Onlinegrocer.ca.

I joined this industry at the age of 15, and later became the first recipient of the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers’ (CFIG) scholarship while pursuing my studies in Business at the University of Ottawa.

Twenty years later with the same passion, I became Chairman of CFIG and worked closely with our Quebec counterpart l ‘Association des Détaillants en Alimentation du Québec (ADA) to establish a long lasting relationship with the goal of exchanging ideas and working collectively on common issues to improve our industry.

My involvement with Ontario and Quebec based distributors such as Steinberg, Loeb and Oshawa Foods allowed me to understand and appreciate the differences between retailing in Quebec and the rest of Canada.

Having recognized this, we still share the same values, have the same concerns and are subject to similar regulations  When talking one on one with retailers we quickly realize that we have a lot more in common than meets the eye.

My goal is to demystify some of these cultural and language barriers, and share success stories that will allow you to improve your business without having to leave this great country.

During the past few weeks I have visited both Grocery Showcase West (GSW) in Vancouver and (SIAL) in Montreal, I have also visited retailers in both cities and can certainly confirm that retailing is alive and well in both sides of this country.

What we need to do is to share more of our best practices and successful retailing stories.

My other passion is technology and allowing customers the ability to use the new technological advances to improve their shopping experiences.

We have successfully operated a virtual supermarket for the past 15 years and have learned along the way and hopefully could help you minimize some of the mistakes and seize loss opportunities.

When asked what made me decide to start a virtual online concept I compare it to my grandfather taking phone orders and then having someone deliver the product on a bicycle…in today’s society they use their computer, phone or tablets and we use trucks, boats or planes to deliver their groceries…the technology and the transportation modes have changed but the concept remains the same … making the shopping experience that much more convenient and user friendly.

With these two passions I hope to keep give you insights and suggestions that will be beneficial to your business.

I invite you to share your experiences and best practices and welcome suggestions or topics of interest to food retailers.

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