With a school band, speeches and $10 gift cards handed out to the eager lineup of first-time customers, the Thrifty Foods store at Belmont Market opened today under bright Langford morning skies.
Speeches of congratulations and thanks were delivered by Langford Mayor Stew Young, Sooke School District 62 (SD62) Vice-Chair Dianna Seaton, and Crombie REIT Director Development Western Canada.
“In Langford we like to do things quick, fast and big,” said Mayor Stew Young, congratulating Thrifty Foods for getting their Belmont Market store up and running in Langford within a year. He acknowledged the ‘iconic branding’ of Thrifty Foods, saying they are “a community team player that always gives back to the community”.
“Thank you for bringing Thriftys to our community, thank you for picking Langford,” said Young. He said that jobs and taxes are part of the economic boost that comes with such a large new store in the city.
The mayor is hoping Thriftys will be a sports sponsor in the sports-active Langford community. The city is raising its profile quickly in becoming a ‘national sports capital’.
The new Belmont Market development sits on land where the Belmont Secondary School was for decades. The school that first opened in 1947 relocated to Langford Lake Road in Westhills where it opened anew in September 2015.
“Belmont has a long and significant history in the community,” said SD62 Vice-Chair Dianna Seaton. She briefly told a bit of school history, where students on detention would be asked to pick up rocks off the school field so that the field could be better used for sports.
Kevin Pritchard, Director of Development Western Canada, representing the developer Crombie REIT. “It’s extremely exciting to be here today to celebreate this important milestone,” said Pritchard. He says the Crombie REIT goal has been to develop Belmont Market as a “fully integrated lifestyle community” with a mix of local and national retailers.
“Our goal is to provide the community with the best possible shopping experience, with a mix of stores and services, with mindful thought and design,” said Pritchard at the podium to a crowd of over 300 people. “This morning is a huge step toward achieving that goal.” Pritchard thanked residents of the west shore community, City of Langford staff, and the project management teams that made the development possible.
Thrifty Foods as the anchor tenant at Belmont Market is expected to be an economic boon for Langford. There are 180 employees at the new store, which at 53,000 sqft is the largest Thriftys in the Greater Victoria area.
Since 1977 Thrifty Foods has been an active part of the Greater Victoria community. The Colwood store has since 1989 been serving the west shore but with booming growth in Colwood, Langford and surrounding areas, another Thrifty Foods store was a natural fit.
The Belmont Market Thrifty Foods store manager is Brian Boizard, who has relocated from the Admirals Road store to open the new store in Langford. All other department managers were introduced to the crowd.
The Belmont store is the 12th Thrifty Foods store in the Greater Victoria area, says Thrifty Foods District Manager Shawn Parkhouse. The other 11 stores are Fairfield, Quadra, Sidney, James Bay, Colwood, Broadmead, Cloverdale, Central Saanich, Admirals, Hillside, and Tuscany. There are also two stores in Nanaimo, as well as a store in each of Mill Bay, Duncan, and Parksville.
Thrifty Foods has a reputation for being involved in supporting the community. Today it was announced that $4,000 in gift cards have been donated by Thriftys to support healthy meals at Hans Helgesen Elementary. At the podium, both SD62 Vice-Chair Seaton and school principal Mrs. Debra Stoutley thanked Thriftys for their support.
Also attending from the City of Langford were Councillors Denise Blackwell, Lanny Seaton, Norma Stewart and Roger Wade.
Also attending from the school district was SD62 Superintendent Scott Stinson. O Canada was sung by students from Royal Bay Secondary in Colwood, and there was music by the Royal Bay Secondary school band.