Quality Foods plans new Royal Bay store and raises employee wages


Quality Foods plans to open a new store in the Royal Bay development in Colwood – and make its pay pandemic permanent.

Quality Foods plans to open a new store in the Royal Bay development in Colwood – and make its pay pandemic permanent.

The Qualicum Beach-based grocery chain, which has 12 stores on the island, including two of the newest in Langford and View Royal, has just had a record year of revenue growth and is keen to expand in the competitive Greater Victoria, President Noel Hayward said.

The company unveiled its plans for Royal Bay at its annual general meeting this week, when it also announced “double-digit growth” and pay rises for its 1,200 staff.

“We are drawing up plans for the new store. We will begin construction later this year, with completion in 2022,” Hayward said.

The store will be approximately 35,000 square feet in size and will offer products and services similar to those offered in the Langford and View Royal stores.

Hayward said the pandemic has generated substantial growth for traditional grocers as public health orders keep people closer to home and eat out less.

“People need to understand that traditional grocery stores are growing at about 2% every year, whereas in the last 10 years big box stores have grown by 50%,” he said. “Stores like ours follow inflation.”

After a year of “double-digit” growth, Quality Foods is passing some of that on to employees, becoming the first island grocery chain to make its pandemic permanent.

The $2 an hour supplement given to workers in February and extended in May was due to end over the weekend, but Hayward said it was decided at the company’s annual general meeting that the supplement was here to stay.

He said the extra $2 an hour was about a 10% increase, well above the rate of inflation.

“There’s a lot of stress and anxiety working in a store, and with the pandemic raging, we thought the right thing to do was to make it permanent,” Hayward said.

Unifor, one of Canada’s largest unions, called on all grocery stores to maintain the pandemic bonus for workers.

Some stores continued to pay a premium, extending it for months at a time.

Buy-Low Foods was the first grocery store chain to make its pandemic payment bonus permanent in May.

Quality Foods is the latest addition to the sprawling Royal Bay development site, which will eventually have around 2,500 homes and several businesses.

Seaspan and the Royal BC Museum have already announced plans to build offices on the site, and Royal Bay Secondary plans to add up to 1,600 students to make it the largest secondary school on the island.

Colwood is also lobbying the province for a terminal for a commuter ferry to downtown Victoria, and Mayor Rob Martin has floated the idea of ​​a gondola on Royal Bay to take passengers from a parking lot to a possible ferry terminal.

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