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08/06/2021

Where are they now? Generation Next winner Ryan Dennis

We caught up with this past Generation Next Award winner to find out what he's been up to since winning in 2014
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Ryan Dennis

Canadian Grocer’s Generation Next awards debuted in 2011 to honour the grocery industry’s rising stars (under age 40). We recently caught up with a few past winners to find out how their careers have been shaping up—including Ryan Dennis, who won the award in 2014. Here’s what he had to say:

Job then: Store manager, Overwaitea Food Group (Save-On-Foods)

Job now: Owner, Larry’s Market, North Vancouver

What’s changed in your career since 2014, when you won the award?

After I won, I became a regional director and then general manager with Save-On-Foods. They are a great company to work for and have many passionate leaders. I was able to learn a lot and contribute to the overall mission in my time at head office. While working as general manager, my wife was diagnosed with cancer. At that point we decided we wanted to live out our dream of owning our own grocery store. We wanted to sell healthy food and provide the community with a very convenient market providing only vegetarian foods. We just celebrated the two-year anniversary of the store opening, and we are going to be expanding our brick and mortar [with the opening of a second store] and one-hour delivery this year!

What has been your proudest career accomplishment since then?

The Gen Next win made me feel confident that the grocery industry knew it was important for younger people in the business to contribute at the top level. My company believed in me enough to nominate me, and that also made me want to work hard for them and help them grow. With all of that confidence, I was able to open up my own market, which is my proudest accomplishment.

What do you like best about your job?

The best part of my job is that I’m able to provide the community with healthy food. We have been doing delivery for over a year, and customers continue to say “wow” each time we deliver faster than any one else can! Our customers continue to provide amazing feedback about our team at the store, and that is a testament to the group that we have working there.

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?

The best advice I ever received was from my dad. He said to work hard and don’t worry about the “naysayers.” He also kept me grounded, and reminded me that I should listen to the people who have been there before. My advice to a young person starting out today is listen to your leaders and to the customers. Always respectfully stand up for what you believe in, and work hard.

What’s your favourite thing about this industry?

I love the people. We have so many people who care about providing healthy food to the community that when everyone works together, it is very powerful!

 

Do you know a rising star in the grocery industry? Nominate them now for this year’s Generation Next Awards. It’s quick and easy, but don’t delay! The deadline to enter/nominate is September 15. 

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