BUSINESS BEAT: Fairfield resident appreciates Thrifty’s community support

Grocery chain celebrating 35 years in Greater Victoria

Former player and current Beacon Hill Little League volunteer Gus Niketas

Thirty-five years after Thrifty Foods founders Alex Campbell and Ernie Skinner decided to lend a hand to their next-door neighbour in Fairfield, one benefactor is still grateful for the gesture.

Gus Niketas was a baseball player at Beacon Hill Little League when the new business donated money to the Hollywood Park-based organization, and has been a longtime volunteer with the league.

“Since that very first year, Thrifty Foods has supported our league and ensured that young children have had access to a great sport,” said Niketas, whose 13-year-old son, Chris, played his final season there this summer.

Recognition of that community support was part of Thrifty’s 35th anniversary celebrations, which kicked off recently at the Fairfield Road store where the company, now owned by Sobey’s, began in 1977.

Besides assisting numerous community groups financially with its Smile Cards and through food donations, Thrifty’s is entering its 26th year operating its Sendial program. The grocery home delivery service gets food and other store items to customers who have been injured or have accessibility challenges that prevent them from shopping in person.

For more information on its programs, visit

Heart health help at Canadian Tire

Now through Dec. 24, checkout clerks at Greater Victoria Canadian Tire stores are asking shoppers if they’d like to contribute $2 in cash or Canadian Tire money for its Fix-a-Heart program. All donations go to the Victoria Hospitals Foundation toward heart health. The store campaign raised $57,400 last year for critical care beds for the cardiac unit at RJH. Since 2003, it has brought in more than $500,000 for the cause.

Boutique shops woo Christmas shoppers

With its late-night opening promotion in the books, the 70 member-businesses of Shop Local Victoria are hoping to maintain momentum in the final rush to Christmas.

Until Dec. 15, shoppers can enter draws for an iPad and dozens of gift cards worth $50 and $100 at any of the participating merchants.

The organization, formed to support and promote locally owned, independent businesses, markets its members as able to provide a “boutique shopping experience” unlike corporate stores. “Each shop has unique and special items that will entice and excite shoppers,” says Shop Local Victoria board member Natasha Crawford of Brown’s the Florist. A complete listing of participating businesses can be found at

Government webinars help with return to PST

Business owners looking for help switching their system back to the PST and GST from the harmonized sales tax can find it online.

Two one-hour webinars are scheduled for tomorrow (Dec. 13) at 10:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., and another happens next Tuesday (Dec. 18) at 10:30 a.m. For more information and to register for a session, visit

Names in the news for Victoria business

Earl Wilde, general manager of the Victoria Regent, is entering his 23rd year with the Wharf Street hotel, which coincides with its ranking of No. 18 best hotel in Canada by readers of Conde Nast magazine. The Fairmont Empress made No. 16 on the 2012 list … Glen Lynch and his staff at Baggins at 561 Johnson St. invite shoppers to come down and help them celebrate the store’s 43 years in business in Victoria.

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