Susie and Shaun Thompson take over the Morinville Sobeys November 30 and are looking forward to becoming an active part of the community. – Stephen Dafoe Photo
by Stephen Dafoe
There were a couple new faces at the Morinville Sobeys last week. Shaun and Susie Thompson arrived Thursday to begin working alongside Stu Trenchard before taking over the store as new franchise owners Nov. 30.
The Thompson’s currently live in Leduc but are planning to move to Morinville in the New Year, either after Christmas or when school is done for their three children next summer.
Shaun Thompson has been with the Leduc Sobeys for the past 11 years, starting as a produce clerk before moving on to grocery and finally Fresh Department manager. Thompson’s experience moved him further into Assistant Manager and ultimately Store Manager. Over the past year Thompson has been working at a corporate store to brush up on the corporate side of things before taking on a franchise of his own.
“I’m very excited to be here,” Thompson said. It is a sentiment echoed by wife and business partner Susie. “We want our business to be successful and are very excited to get involved and meet the community of Morinville.”
Like her husband and partner, Susie Thompson brings a wealth of retail experience with her to Morinville. In retail for the past 17 years, she started in the business as a courtesy clerk before moving to cashier and on to customer service supervisor. She also has frontline experience in the deli and bakery departments, and management experience in file maintenance and administration.
“We’ve been brought up that if you support the community, the community will support you,” Shaun Thompson said. It is a philosophy that is shared by wife and partner Suzie. “It takes a community to raise a child. It is a motto that we have used over the years in our family business and we would like to carry it over here.”
Current franchise owner Stu Trenchard, who took over the store in the spring of 2011, has also operated under that philosophy. “I think everyone knows from our actions over the last three-and-a-half years that we support the community as best as we can every day,” Trenchard said. “Every food event that there was in town, we wanted to be a part of it. That was our philosophy our whole way through it.”
Current owner moving to another store
A long-time resident of Morinville, Trenchard worked his way up through the grocery business starting as a stock boy in the then 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, he was hired on by the company that would eventually become Sobeys. He was manager of the Morinville store before 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.
Three years later, he was presented with another opportunity, becoming the franchise owner of the St. Albert Sobeys. Trenchard said he was offered an opportunity to take on a larger store, a situation that allowed the Thompson’s to take on a franchise of their own in a community similar to Leduc. The opportunity will see the Trenchard’s moving to St. Albert.
“My wife [Nadine] and I have loved this community and been a part of it a lot of years,” he said, adding they are grateful for the support the community has shown them in their business and their personal lives. “The hardest part of the decision is to leave the people. The people of Morinville are tremendous and they support local business. In turn, we’ve supported them as best we can. We will miss the dedicated team at the Morinville store.
The Thompson’s are looking forward to carrying on the Sobeys tradition as well as the legacy Trenchard leaves behind in the community. “We have some big shoes to fill,” Shaun Thompson said. “We plan on filling them. I think if we can get out there and meet the people to show the community what we stand for and who we are, it will be great.” Thompson said Stu has run a great operation and that he and his wife have no plans to turn the store upside down. “We’re going to do everything that they are doing now,” he said. “We might just put some small tweaks of our own little personality, but we are definitely not going to flip things upside down.”
One of the traditions the Thompson’s will continue is getting the customer what they want. Simply put – if they do not have it on their shelves, they will try to get it or something like it. “It’s all about what the customers want,” Shaun Thompson said. “We’ll try to accommodate them so they can do their whole shop here.”