Consistently striving to be the best has earned Sicamous’ Askew’s Foods a National Platinum Award from the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers.
The award was handed out in October at the 50th Annual Canadian Independent Grocer of the Year Awards in Toronto. Present from the Askew’s family was Askew’s CEO Davis Askew, Brian Hoshizaki, Colleen Davis and Sicamous Askew’s owner/manager Ron Daniel.
“Askew’s has been the model of consistency in the grocery store industry for a long time now,” says Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers (CFIG) CEO John F.T. Scott. “We are very pleased that David and his team have been recognized for their outstanding contribution.”
A CFIG national platinum award is awarded when a grocer earns an Award of Merit for 10 consecutive years. To do this, the CFIG conducts an annual inspection of member stores to see if certain standards are being met.
“What they score you on is a clean parking lot, painted lines… customer service desk, pharmacies, a clean washroom up front, a clean store, that type of thing,” says Daniel, adding that if one award of merit is missed, the count towards a platinum award goes back to zero.
“What I’m more proud of than the platinum award… is every year we have rated higher than the average,” says Daniel. “So we have, for 10 consecutive years, been better than the average grocery store that has received an award of merit.”
Where the Sicamous store lost points in this year’s inspection, says Daniel, is for not having a pharmacy, and not having per-100-gram pricing on the shelves. This, he says, would make it easier for customers to compare brands and pricing.
“That’s one thing we should probably look at getting,” says Daniel, noting he and his staff are typically not aware of what day an inspector will visit the store.
“He could be in a mess, something could have happened, we couldn’t get your order or whatever because of a slide in Rogers Pass, but he still arrives,” Daniel explained. “And it doesn’t matter. He only comes that one day, but we try to keep up the business the rest of the time too. So we look as good in September as we do in April, type of thing.”
David Askew credits the continuity of effort Daniel and his staff have made as the reason behind their CFIG honour.
“If you’re going to win this type of award, you’ve got to be diligent year after year,” says Askew. “I think that’s definitely the mark of that group, especially owner/manager Ron Daniel. He’s very attentive to all the details and scrutiny that it takes to maintain those standards.”
Asked about the economic challenges of maintaining such standards, Daniel says it’s all part of doing business.
“And I think most grocery stores that are on the cutting edge all strive to do that,” he says.
Askew says all of his stores strive for the same standard, with both the Armstrong and Downtown Salmon Arm stores also having received CFIG awards. But none the platinum award.
“I think Sicamous, being relatively new, that’s quite an achievement,” says Askew.