Campbell River Quality Foods manager Cyriel DeBruyne has seen the store take a leadership role in community support and customer service with sponsorships and promotions like the What’s in the Fridge contest currently running.

Opportunity knocked in Campbell River eight years ago

Quality Foods Celebrates 30th Anniversary throughout its Island stores

They say when one door closes, another one opens. Such was the case for two grocery stores eight years ago.

When IGA shut its doors at Merecroft Village, Quality Foods saw an opportunity.

“I think the company was looking for an opportunity for growth, and an opportunity presented itself with IGA closing,” said Cyriel  DeBruyne, who has managed the Campbell River Quality Foods since it opened in October 2004.

That made Campbell River the company’s ninth location. Since then, the store has thrived and played a prominent role in the community.

When the store opened there were around 41 employees – today that number has reached 55. And all the employees are local.

“The company has a rule that you’re expected to pay taxes in the community you work in,” said  DeBruyne, who re-located to Campbell River from Courtenay. “It keeps you involved in the community.”

DeBruyne, whose resume includes assistant store manager in Courtenay and prior to that, 13 years at Overwaitea, is extremely community-minded.

For the last four years he has volunteered to be locked up in the Crime Stoppers’ Jail and Bail fundraiser. This year, he raised $1,520 through donations from store employees and friends. In 2008,  DeBruyne raised money for the SPCA through weight loss. He collected pledges for each pound he lost and at the end of the day raised $16,000 and lost 54 pounds through his own, exercise program.

Quality Foods sponsors the Canada Day fireworks every year.

The first year the store donated $25,000 for the show.

Since then, Quality Foods has partnered with the city and the Canada Day committee to fund the annual light display.

“Out of all of our Quality Foods’, this is the largest (fireworks shows),”  DeBruyne said. “At the time when we came in to town, there was an opportunity for us to keep the show going.”

But the Canada Day support doesn’t end there.

“We play a huge part in Canada Day because I think that’s where the heart and soul of the community is,”  DeBruyne said. “The community investment is huge.”

On July 1 Quality Foods sponsors the firefighters’ pancake breakfast, provides lunch for the carvers at the driftwood carving competition in Wilow Point, and this year will sponsor KidsFest.

The store has also sponsored the Salvation Army golf tournament for the past four years; is a sponsor for Cameryn’s Cause, which helps local families with sick children; and also sponsors the Campbell River Hospital Foundation.

“We probably get 40 donation requests per month minimum,”  DeBruyne said. “We try to say yes to everybody with a decent amount.

“If it’s a local hockey team with a chance to go play in  a tournament in Vancouver, we’ll help them out.”

Quality Foods also wants to give back to its customers. Now until Father’s Day (June 17), Quality Foods is hosting What’s in the Fridge?

A computer will randomly select a customer as they come through to pay for groceries.

That lucky shopper will receive a Quality Foods gift card for the amount of their groceries.

They also are given an envelope with an unknown prize inside. The shopper can choose to either keep the envelope and what’s inside or risk it for the unknown prize.

On Father’s Day, the $3,000 fridge will be given away.

But perhaps the best thing about Quality Foods is the way the company treats its employees,  DeBruyne said.

“The biggest thing we do different is all employees, after 18 months, are eligible for benefits. It doesn’t matter if you’re a 20-hour part-time guy or a 36-hour guy,” he said. “And the fact it’s a young company, there’s lots of opportunity in the store.”