Vancouver's Country Grocer garners family enterprise award


Country Grocer was named the 2013 Family Enterprise of the Year by the Vancouver Island chapter of the Canadian Association of Family Enterprise.

The award was accepted by Peter Cavin and Mark Wilson, brother-in-laws and two of the founders of the grocery chain which first opened in Nanaimo, B.C., in 1984 and grew to seven locations on Vancouver Island and Salt Spring Island.

“We love being a family business  because our business allows us to leave a legacy from one generation to the next as well as looking after and improving our family’s lives, and also as importantly, all the families of those who work with us,” said Cavin.

Both Cavin and Wilson have children that are either currently working or have worked in the business as do their other partners, Wally Large and Henry Zwynenburg.

The family-run stores provide a great culture says Cavin that carries through to the chain’s 700 employees. “The people we work with make the difference,” he said. “They’ve stayed with us and they believe in us.”

The two finalists were Bosleys Pet Food Plus in Parksville and Sullivan Wealth Management and Integral Wealth Securities in Nanaimo, said Niki Kux-Kardos, president of CAFE VI.

Nominees are judged on family history, family involvement, mission and vision, as well as efforts to ensure business continuity in terms of governance and succession planning. “We also look at what achievements they are most proud,” said Kux-Kardos. “We also look at how involved they are in the community in terms of giving back and how well are they recognized in the community.”

Kux-Kardos said Country Grocer excelled in all categories.

“They really shone in terms of their family involvement and plans to grow their legacy as a family business.”

This is the sixth year for the award. Past recipients are McCall Bros. Funeral Directors, Accent Inns, Monk Office, Robinson’s Outdoor Sports Store and Pacific Sands Resort.

“A family run business is a different dynamic from a regular business,” said Kux-Kardox. “When it works well, family businesses create a competitive advantage that allows them to soar above the competition. We usually hear what happens when family business doesn’t go well, this is about catching them doing something right. “

Country Grocer is a contender for the CAFE Canada Family Enterprise of the Year Achievement Award which will be held in Toronto on June 8, 2013.

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