For more than 30 years, Quality Foods has built a following on the mid- and North Island.
In the span of a year or so, the independent grocer will open not one, but two stores on the West Shore, its first outlets in Greater Victoria.
“We’ve long had an eye to Victoria, but the opportunities were few and far between,” said Rob McKay, Quality Foods marketing director.
This week’s opening of its store in Langford marks the company’s first foray into what McKay admits is a highly competitive grocery market.
Quality Foods has some momentum going in, he said.
“There seems to be a pent-up demand for Victoria. We’ve been getting phone calls and emails and personal comments from people asking us, ‘when are you guys coming down here?”
The Langford Parkway location is store number 12 for the company, which began in 1982 when partners Ken Schley, John Briulo and Noel Hayward restored an abandoned grocery store in Qualicum Beach.
The next location in this area will be in View Royal, on the site of the development at the corner of Helmcken Road and Watkiss Way near Victoria General Hospital. It is due to open sometime in 2015.
Langford Mayor Stew Young is excited for the economic opportunities the new Quality Foods will bring to his community, with 75 to 100 jobs to be filled initially.
“The jobs that it creates is obviously number one for our community. It’s great that another large employer has decided that Langford is a great place to move,” he said.
“We have some of the strongest growth in the region. A lot of our residents need the jobs.”
In addition to offering employment opportunities, the new Quality Foods will also provide another grocery option closer to home for Langford residents, said Young, as well as injecting some friendly competition into the mix.
“It’s healthy for our community … and it’ll possibly lower prices for food which is always a good thing,” he said.
McKay said the location of the store is ideal, with its proximity to the new Capital Iron store, as well as City Centre Park.
“We’re hoping to draw from a greater population area, but our focus, of course, is the West Shore community,” he said. “That’s pretty good in and of itself.”
Capital Iron owner Mike Black said at the time of his store’s opening in April that the impending opening of Quality Foods was part of his company’s decision to locate in the former furniture store plaza.
Jordan Schley, Ken’s son, is manager of the new store and brings enthusiasm and family pride to the job, McKay said.
Among the features the new store brings is something it calls Island Smokehouse Barbecue, complete with an in-house smoking oven to create such items as barbecued pulled pork, beef brisket and other gourmet items.
McKay said Quality Foods has been a pioneer in terms of bringing specialty foods and services to its stores, from freshly made Chinese food and in-store cafés to old-style delis.
A special seniors’ shopping night is planned for 4 to 8 p.m. Wednesday (July 9), while the official grand opening happens Thursday at 10 a.m.
For more on Quality Foods, visit qualityfoods.com.
– with files from Angela Cowan
Grocer tech savvy
• For customers who are accustomed to using their smartphones for shopping, Quality Foods has just the ticket. Their app, which is linked to one’s Q card (loyalty program), allows shoppers to accept a special online-only deal on their phone, then have it automatically rung in for that price at the checkout once your Q card is scanned.