Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Food Media & News >
Jul 14, 2009 03:07 PM

Sobey's Loses 12 Franchised Stores In Ontario (moved from Ontario board)

Sobey's lost 12 franchised stores in Ontario, this month, because they controlled local buying to a minimum.
The owners wanted to be more responsive to local produce and meat suppliers, but the big national chain insisted on central distribution, meaning California produce and Alberta or U.S. meat.
These owners are now operating under there own names , and getting Ontario produce and Ontario meat.
The only locations I heard were Elora and Elmira. But eventually some large operations (i.e. Sobey's banner, but franchised and supplied by Sobey's wholesale arm) will make the split, and gear there selection to local products.
This may be a situation where the small town stores are ahead of the GTA expert marketers.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Would be great if the one at Queen & Chinguacousy went this way

    1. Sobey's seems to exert much tighter control over the independent stores with their banner than over the IGA stores which preceded them.

      There are a few exceptions. In Toronto, the Pape IGA remains an IGA, at least so far. If they mess with the Clark & Hilda Sobey's, they'd be insane.

      I was always very impressed with the Parry Sound Sobey's. A couple of years ago, corporate apparently bought out the very successful franchisee and systematically eliminated everything that made this store special. While it's still a good store, especially given the small size of the community, it's now just another chain supermarket.

      9 Replies
      1. re: embee

        The Clark and Hilda Sobey's is quite the cultural experience.

        1. re: OTFOODIE

          I'm really saddened by our local Sobeys. Here we are in cherry and blueberry season and all I'm seeing is US product on their shelves. Same with small new potatoes. Our fresh local produce is so superior.

          In fairness, there is a deal of local product and our store is outstanding in all other respects.

          There is another aspect of "small town" franchises of which you are probably fully aware, jayt90. In "small town stores" we drive by local producers and processors to do our shopping so we get better product at lower prices.

          1. re: DockPotato

            When I lived in Windsor, I used to take the drive out to Leamington just to get fresh produce. In an act of trust rarely seen these days, people would put tomatoes, corn, and other vegetables with a price card on a table on their front lawn, and a small can to put the money in. You drove up, took what you wanted, and left the right amount. Even though it took a bit longer to get out there, I felt such an act of honour needed to be rewarded.

            1. re: FrankDrakman

              The honour system is alive and well in rural Ontario. I have purchased farm fresh vegetables herbs and eggs at roadside stands all over southwestern Ontario, west of London, and near Omemee.

              DockPotato, you could register with Sobey's and send in an opinion to customer service. I did this a year ago when I received super service from an employee, and they responded within a day.

              The more complaints we make about not getting local produce in the big stores, the better off we'll be.

              1. re: jayt90

                Think I will do that jayt90.

                This is probably what you referred to in your OP. right?


                1. re: DockPotato

                  The early report was on CBC-1.
                  The Star story has more detail, but we still don't know where the other independent stores are located.

                  The Kropf stores are in Arthur, Durham, Elora, Dundalk, Palmerston and Harriston. There are 6 more independent stores not listed in the Star, or by CBC.

                  I imagine the logistics of getting a consistent local supply of meat would be daunting.However, if Kropf and his associates can do it successfully, then Sobey's, Metro, and Loblaw's will have to buy locally as well.

                  In the GTA a few stores buy local produce and meats: Fiesta Farms, and Highland Farms, and some others I haven't visited yet.

                  1. re: jayt90

                    "logistics of getting a consistent local supply of meat would be daunting"

                    No. that's the easy part up here - Kropf is in beef finishing country with less expensive and higher quality product available with less hassle.

                    1. re: DockPotato

                      I agree, that is a tremendous resource. What worries me is that Kropf will need to have a constant supply of chicken, beef in trays, and pork in trays. Or at least, behind the counter, which adds to the cost.

                      And they may run out on occasion. If he stayed with Sobey's there would be an unlimited supply, coming from the west and the U.S.

                      Kropf will have to have accurate orders into the abatoirs, and at times, Cargill Guelph may have to be called upon. Just speculating, but I'm glad I don't have to make the orders.

                      Since you are close by, DP, you'll have to keep us informed. I'm hoping this is a beginning of a welcome local movement.

                      1. re: jayt90

                        Hell. the trucks come in from down south on Fridays and Mondays and one whatever day during the week. Our local abattoirs are quite busy and can turn on a dime. Just up the street. The meat is no problem but veggies in the off season and other SKUs that Sobeys may choke off will be another thing. trip to Goderich, Hanover, Owen Sound or wherever.