Sobeys Value Champions

Jordan Richard (2018)

Jordan Richard (2018)

Having had a blessed childhood that has led to a blessed adulthood, Jordan Richard has been moved to help those with fewer opportunities. One of those efforts is his annual participation, on behalf of his store, in the Moncton Headstart Chocolate for Charity fundraiser, which supports programs for parents struggling to meet basic needs. “Working with the public, you see a lot of people who are less fortunate,” Jordan says. “I think it starts right there for children, at home. That’s why that organization is important to me.” For the past seven years, Jordan has spearheaded the store’s contribution, taking several days to design and prepare 350 to 400 samples of specialty chocolates for the event. He has to come up with something spectacular to be on par with the other participating chocolatiers and organizers say he never disappoints. “For me, it’s given me a sense of purpose and makes you feel better doing good for other people.”

Sharon Steinfield

Sharon’s kindness will never be forgotten by one grateful customer. One evening when Sharon was working her cash, a young woman was having issues with her credit card and was unable to pay for her groceries. This customer had just travelled home to Ontario from British Columbia and Visa had put a hold on her credit card. Seeing that the customer was about to cry, Sharon paid the $100 grocery bill without hesitation. The woman was a stranger and Sharon didn’t know if she’d ever be paid back but the next day, the customer returned with the cash and a thank you card. She said Sharon saved her and said she would be a regular customer. Sharon says she admires the people who take the time to do something extra, something kind. When she talks about her life philosophy, she quotes Mother Teresa: “Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.”

Shirley Seward

Shirley has worked for Sobeys for 30 years and truly loves her job because of her co-workers, customers and sense of belonging. “Sobeys has been my second family since the day I started here.” She was nominated as a Value Champion after helping to organize the Bartown Dash, an event designed as a way to get people interested in historical sites within the community. One of the stops along the way was at the local food bank. “It was one of the biggest eye-openers because unless you use the food bank, sometimes you don’t realize exactly what it’s all about.” Shirley’s big heart comes from the example set by her father who passed away 29 years ago. “He was a wonderful man and great father and he always believed you get what you give and the more you give, the more you will get,” she says. “That’s where my heart comes from and I’m so glad I have his heart.”

Anne St-Onge

Anne St-Onge says that “promoting the Sobeys name in all communities makes my heart smile.” Perhaps that’s because she knows the importance of families when it comes to running successful businesses. “My grandparents started the only grocery store in Grand Falls, New Brunswick. Meat, breads, milk in the glass jugs… you could buy a chocolate bar for five cents,” says Anne. “They would be proud of me.” As they should be; their granddaughter is following in their footsteps, and was chosen to go on the road to help new Co-Ops. Anne also juggled her daily managerial duties while taking the lead on a hugely successful Canada 150 and Sobeys 110 celebration, not to mention singing her heart out in the Star of Christmas video shoot. “Family means everything,” Anne says, getting just a little choked up before adding, “my Sobeys is my family.”

Timothy Stover

Timothy “TJ” Stover exemplifies what it means to go above and beyond for customers. “I like to connect with customers; that’s my favourite part,” the assistant store manager of Sobeys in London says. His customer service ethic was evident last winter, when a “distraught” customer needed help with a flat tire as heavy snow fell outside. “She didn’t really have a lot of money to get a tow truck,” TJ recalls. “But I know how to change a tire so I offered to go and change it for her.” The heroic moment means the 14-year Sobeys veteran is now known as the “Sobeys Handyman” among colleagues, but for TJ, helping a customer in need is just the right thing to do. “I want to make every customer feel like they’re important, because if they come in feeling important, then they’ll come back,” TJ says.

Denise Taylor

Denise is proud that Sobeys is always there to help families in need. “Our store is a very big part of the community,” she says. “We contribute to pretty much anything and everything.” So when her co-workers decided to raise money for Children’s Wish Foundation, Denise knew she wanted to help. “It was a collective thing,” says Denise. “A lot of people were onboard. It was just something that made you feel really good about yourself. It’s just so much bigger than what you are.” They were hoping to raise $10,000 but raised in excess of $20,000, which enabled two children to get a wish, rather than just one. The experience was personal for Denise. “I’ve been one of those people,” she says. “They did a fundraiser for me a few years ago. It’s very humbling and I really wanted to give back.” The strength of Sobeys comes from how people treat each other, says Denise. “You go to a store and you know everybody there. It’s just like coming home.”

Émilie Thériault

Recently promoted to the position of Business Intelligence Specialist, Émilie spends her days analyzing huge volumes of data to identify trends and suggest smart strategies, often exceeding expectations and always doing so with a positive attitude. Her goal is to simplify her co-workers’ and internal clients’ work. She devotes herself to her analysis and does not hesitate to raise ambiguous points or propose alternatives, even if it will require more work for her. She believes that if one works hard, it is always possible to achieve one’s goals. Both her positive attitude and work ethic are infectious and radiate around her, and spread to her department. She is proud of Sobeys’ involvement in the paralympic movement. “My Sobeys is a place where we love to help each other out in order to better succeed all together; it is also a place where we are proud to go to work.”

Hatty Thompson

During the wildfires of 2017, the town of Williams Lake was evacuated, leaving only emergency workers and a cook, who was a Safeway employee. “Our little store provided all the food for the firefighters and RCMP,” says Hatty proudly. “Safeway was the only one that stayed open so that we could … feed the community.” Eventually, more Safeway workers were asked back to clean the store to make it ready for when residents returned. “It was like coming into a ghost town,” says Hatty. “We had to go through two or three checkpoints just to get to our store.” It was a team effort to get the store ready for customers in just a few short days but the long hours and hard work was worth it. “They were so thrilled and so happy that we were open. They were just grateful that we had worked so hard and were ready for them,” says Hatty. “They said they missed us!”

Sonia Toussaint

With her unfailingly positive attitude, Sonia never lets a customer leave the store unsatisfied. She serves her clients with enthusiasm, passion and courtesy every day. Because she takes the time to listen, Sonia has loyal fans at the store. Many customers ask for her by name when placing their phone or Internet orders. One regular client was very vocal in pointing out just how much Sonia has changed his life for the better. Recently a customer dropped a wallet containing $150 in the store, with only an Air Miles card for identification. Sonia took it upon herself to call the company and ask them to contact its owner to let her know that the wallet was being held safely for her. The customer was very appreciative of the trouble she had gone to. “Honesty is one of my greatest qualities, being honest and then there’s injustice; I do not accept that in my work environment.”

Marilyn Trendel-Jenkins

Marilyn Trendel-Jenkins is often more excited than the kids who come into Sobeys in Niagara Falls to pick up their birthday cakes. A cake decorator in the bakery for the past six years, Marilyn loves seeing children’s reactions when they see the special cake for their big day. “It’s fun to see them jumping up and down for joy.” For Marilyn, “making people happy” is why she loves coming into work every day, but holidays and special occasions are when she really shines. “I do the speciality cakes,” Marilyn says, explaining that often means working long days and late nights to keep the front counter filled. Her passion for ensuring the bakery runs smoothly during its busiest times make Marilyn a standout employee to customers and colleagues alike. “I take a lot of pride in my work and always strive to produce the best product.”