Our roots reach back to 1984 when Wally Large and Henry Zwynenburg founded Nanaimo’s Food Country. In 1986, Peter Cavin and Mark Wilson, with brother-in-law Brett Large and sister-in-law Jody, and spouses (and sisters) Kelly Wilson and Laura Cavin, launched Mr. Grocer in the Victoria community of Esquimalt. A store in Royal Oak followed the next year.
After working together for a decade, our two groups came together formally in 1997 to create the Island Independent Buying Group, a 40,000-square-foot warehouse and distribution centre in Chemainus that allowed us to take advantage of greater buying power. For customers, that has meant access to more products and more competitive pricing.
Soon after, bringing the stores together under the Country Grocer banner meant improved continuity and recognition among staff and customers, while also acknowledging our growth and Island focus.
Today, 36 years after welcoming our first customers, Country Grocer has grown to seven stores serving Greater Victoria, Salt Spring, Cobble Hill, Lake Cowichan and Nanaimo. We continue to grow and thrive by staying true to these same principles: provide our customers with quality products, competitive pricing, exceptional service and an unwavering commitment to the communities we serve.
While we happily welcome you to our stores, you’ll also see us at your local sporting events, supporting schools and youth teams, promoting healthy living and the invaluable work of hard-working non-profit organizations like the Island’s MS Society and the Help Fill A Dream Foundation.
Our message is simple, but it’s one we strive to deliver each and every day: Here, you’ll feel like family.