Hay River’s independent grocery Super A is about to receive a significant honour.
It will be one of three stores in Canada to receive the Innovative Retailer Award of Excellence from their wholesale supplier The Grocery People (TGP) at a marketing exposition in Saskatoon on June 8.
“It’s nice to be recognized,” said co-owner Steve Anderson. “The store wouldn’t have been where we are today without (The Grocery People).”
Recipients are recognized for innovation and the benefit they offer to the communities they serve, along with the overall success of the initiatives, according to a statement by TGP.
Although the specifics of why the Hay River Super A was chosen will remain undisclosed until the presentation in Saskatoon, TGP sent a crew to make a short film about the grocer’s achievements, and Anderson said what it chose to shoot could offer some indication.
“We were surprised by how much TGP put into the video,” he said. “They spent a lot of money and featured the community, and they showcased NTCL (Northern Transportation Company Limited), too. It was nice to have them featured, as well.”
Super A not only serves communities in the South Slave, it is also involved in barging supplies down the Mackenzie River for settlements further north. Although the current incarnation is only five years old, the business has a much longer history in Hay River, stretching back to the 1960s. It currently employs about 50 people.
The store is owned by Anderson, John Hill and Tracy Rewega-Hill.
“We think of it as a community-based company,” said Anderson. “We have no shareholders outside the community to report to, so all the money stays here in town.”
As for what makes the independent grocer unique, he credits the store’s employees first, saying that they are the ones who really make the difference in the customer experience.
“It starts with the frontline,” he said. “Bigger chains have forgotten that. They talk a lot about service, but don’t go much farther than that.”
Anderson is looking forward to the marketing exposition in Saskatoon, especially to see what TGP deemed worthy of a national award. He said places like Super A need suppliers like TGP to function and that being recognized by them is an honour.
TGP spokesperson Samantha Pike was equally appreciative of Super A’s efforts towards maintaining a high level of service for Hay River and surrounding area.
“We are dedicated to the independent grocer,” she told The Hub. “It’s a great partnership and we couldn’t do what we do without them.”
— Sarah Ladik