Staff members and managers from Peppers Foods in Cadboro Bay Village nabbed a bronze medal at the 2020 Canadian Independent Grocer of the Year awards on May 11 for being one of the top stores under 15,000 square feet in the country. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

Staff members and managers from Peppers Foods in Cadboro Bay Village nabbed a bronze medal at the 2020 Canadian Independent Grocer of the Year awards on May 11 for being one of the top stores under 15,000 square feet in the country. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

Saanich grocery store takes home bronze at national independent grocer awards

Pepper’s Foods nabs Small Surface category award for top-notch customer service in 2020

Whether they’re peckish beach-goers or starving university students, the team at Pepper’s Foods, tucked down by Cadboro Bay, welcomes customers for locally-sourced fare with a warm smile. Their hospitality has earned the little grocery store many awards over the years and this month, their trophy shelf got a little more crowded.

On May 11, the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers (CFIG) hosted its annual awards in a virtual ceremony. Saanich’s Pepper’s Foods took home the bronze Independent Grocer of the Year Small Surface award – the category for all Canadian grocery stores under 15,000 square feet.

Pepper’s 2021 awards season kicked off when they picked up the Family Business Excellence award at the Family Business Association of Vancouver Island’s annual ceremony in April. Then came the CFIG awards.

Before the winners could be selected, a judge toured independent grocery stores across the country to score them on everything from cleanliness to customer satisfaction, explained Cory Davits, Pepper’s Foods general manager. He’s worked at the store for 35 years alongside his family – his father, John, is the owner, his uncle, Don Way, serves as store manager and his wife, Shannon, and daughter, Madison, also work at the store.

Pepper’s Foods picked up the regional Small Surface award as the top-scoring store in B.C. and the Yukon. This put the 4,000 square-foot grocery store in contention for the national award which was announced this month.

Upon hearing they’d been awarded bronze in the national competition, Davits “went around and congratulated everyone (on staff) for their efforts.” Because of COVID-19, the team couldn’t attend the ceremony, but he hopes to have a belated celebration once the restrictions loosen.

“It’s an honour because we’re beating out stores that are three times the size of us,” he said. But, it’s not all about the awards, it’s about making customers happy – something he says he couldn’t do without his dedicated team.

The accomplishment was more poignant this year because of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Davits commended his team for making the store shine under the stressful conditions they faced as frontline workers.

Across town, Country Grocer’s Royal Oak store won the silver national award in the medium surface category – 15,000-25,000 square feet – and a gold award for the medium surface category for the B.C. and Yukon region.


Do you have a story tip? Email: devon.bidal@saanichnews.com.

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.

AwardsDistrict of SaanichGroceries

Just Posted

Black Press file photo
RCMP seek suspect in Vancouver Island-wide crime spree

Crimes stretched from Deep Bay to Qualicum, Ladysmith, Chemainus and Youbou

Jesse Roper tackles weeds in his garden to kick off the 2021 season of What’s In My Garden Man? (YouTube/Whats In My Garden)
VIDEO: Metchosin singer-songwriter Jesse Roper invites gardeners into his plot

What’s In My Garden, Man? kicks off with the poop on compost

A sketch of the multi-use path that will connect Lagoon Beach and Royal Beach in Colwood. (Sketch courtesy of the City of Colwood)
Concepts for Colwood beach connector coming to council June 21

Major infrastructure project includes gathering places, public amenities and pathways

Victoria police are asking for witnesses who might have information about this tricycle that was stolen in downtown Victoria on Thursday. (Photo courtesy of VicPD)
Police seek witnesses after downtown Victoria company’s tricycle stolen

The three-wheeler was taken from the 2100-block of Store Street on Thursday

(Victoria Cool Aid Society/Facebook)
Victoria food drive aims to feed those also struggling with housing

Quadra Village furniture store hosting drive-thru event Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

A small pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins pass by close to shore in Campbell River June 16, 2021. Still capture from video courtesy of Kimberly Hart
VIDEO: Dolphin sunset captured from Vancouver Island shore

Spectacular setting for view of travelling pod of Pacific white-sided dolphins

OPINION SIG
SOOKE HISTORY: A brief history of Bear Creek Camp

Malahat Logging Company began both Beach Camp and Bear Creek Camp

Police are asking for public assistance in locating Anthony Graham who has been charged with the murders of Kamloops brothers Carlo and Erick Fryer. (RCMP photo)
2 charged, suspect at large in killings of B.C. brothers linked to gang activity: RCMP

Kamloops brothers Erick and Carlo Fryer were found deceased in May on a remote Okanagan road

Albert Health Minister Tyler Shandro and Alberta Premier Jason Kenney unveil an opening sign after speaking about the Open for Summer Plan and next steps in the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, in Edmonton, Friday, June 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Alberta 1st province in Canada to lift all COVID-19 public health restrictions

70.2% of eligible citizens 12 and older in the province have received a dose of the vaccine

Fraser Health registered nurse Ramn Manan draws a dose of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine into a syringe at a walk-up vaccination clinic at Bear Creek Park, in Surrey, B.C., on Monday, May 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
‘Honour our fathers’ with COVID-19 vaccine protection, B.C. urges

109 new cases Friday, 75 per cent of 12 and up immunized

Freighters have becomd abundant in the Trincomali Channel on the east side of Thetis Island.
Nanaimo ponders taking on waste from nearby anchored freighters

Vancouver-based Tymac petitioning the Regional District of Nanaimo to accept waste at its landfill

(Paul Henderson/ Chilliwack Progress)
Trutch Avenue in Chilliwack to be renamed to remove racist taint

New name to have Indigenous significance as Chilliwack takes new step toward reconciliation

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is seen during a joint news conference following the EU-Canada Summit, in Brussels, Belgium, Tuesday June 15, 2021. Trudeau says Canada is on track now to have 68 million doses delivered by the end of July, which is more than enough to fully vaccinate all 33.2 million Canadians over the age of 12. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Vaccine deliveries enough to fully vaccinate all eligible Canadians by end of July

Three in four eligible Canadians now have their first dose, nearly one in five fully vaccinated.

Most Read