By Stephen Dafoe
Morinville – There is a familiar face roaming the aisles of the Morinville Sobeys these days. Stuart Trenchard is back to run the store but this time as franchise owner.
A long-time resident of Morinville, Trenchard worked his way up through the grocery business starting as a stock boy in the local IGA at the age of 14. Over the next six-and-a-half years as he worked his way through school Trenchard also worked his way through various positions in the store. After graduating from NAIT with a major in marketing, Trenchard was hired on by the company that would eventually become Sobeys. He eventually became manager of the Morinville store before recently moving on to head office where he was director of retail projects, overseeing the opening and renovation of stores across Western Canada. But as much as he enjoyed his new corporate position, he just couldn’t pass on the opportunity to come back to familiar territory.
“The president of Sobeys came to me and said I could get into Morinville and own it,” Trenchard said. “I jumped at the opportunity.”
As franchise operator of the store, Trenchard said he hopes to bring his 28 years as a Morinville resident to the table in his grocery store.
“I think I know what the people need, and I keep my ear to the ground,” he said. “I know exactly what’s being said about the store, and whether people are enjoying it or not. If they’re not, I hear about it – whether it’s good or bad – at hockey and everything you go to. And that’s great.”
That ear to the ground mentality extends to knowing what events are going on in the community and how best to sponsor them, something the store has had a long-standing reputation of doing. That sponsorship will include access to the new reader board Sobeys will use to promote their specials and what special events are going on in town.
Since his return, Trenchard said he’s heard a lot of positive comments about the store, a trend he intends to have continued.
Changes of a minor and major nature will be coming down the aisles. Those changes began with giving the store’s green flashing a fresh coat of paint over the past couple weeks and will extend to a greener footprint within the store itself.
“We’re trying to make sure we’re reducing the carbon footprint of the store,” Trenchard said. “The dairy department will now have doors on it where the milk is. Deli will be replacing some equipment, bakery. The open freezers that you see for merchandizing – those will be closed doors now.”
Additionally, the store will be going to LED lighting and is looking at changing their waste management contract to a two bin system whereby some of the discarded items will become compost. “We’ll have two bins going,” Trenchard said. “One will be for landfill and that will reduce our landfill to one pick up every two weeks, as opposed to once a week. All our organic compost will go into another bin and that goes straight into compost for people’s gardens.”
But while there are many changes coming to Sobeys over the coming weeks and months, the one thing Trenchard said will not change is the familiar faces and quality service.
“I want everyone to know I am totally game to any suggestions for products they are looking for,” he said, adding he will be bringing in a line of gluten-free products for people. “We’re going to work hard to make sure this is a community store. We’ll make sure we have the best customer service and are the freshest and the cleanest.”