New owners coming to Sobeys

·3 min read

For more than 10 years, Sobeys shoppers could often find store owners Chris and Stephanie Napier working alongside their staff, stocking shelves or unpacking produce. And now, the couple is about to embark on their next adventure as the store has been sold and a new owner will take possession on May 2.

Chris Napier has been employed in the grocery industry since he was 14-years-old, and since coming to Kincardine to take over the store in January 2011, he has seen many advances in the industry. He says the variety of foods, especially prepared foods, is more expansive than it has been in past years. Stephanie says the computer tools and technology the store employs has made tasks such as inventory tracking, much easier.

The last year has been particularly challenging. Deemed an essential service, Chris says they were lucky to be a business that could remain open during the pandemic and said they saw a considerable increase in traffic. A lot of time was devoted to keeping up with health protocols and installing safeguards to keep both staff and shoppers safe. He is proud of the way staff has responded, implementing the stringent new protocols and the high touch cleaning and practices have been put into place.

Besides operating a large business that employs anywhere between 120 to 150 people, depending on the season, the couple has been diligent in its support of the community. They have partnered with Community Living Kincardine and District, Big Brothers and Sisters Kincardine and the Kincardine Food Bank, to name a few organizations they have supported. They have been regular sponsors of sports teams and lent a hand to local schools. Chris sited an example of how one of their stand-alone handwashing sinks has been on loan to Elgin Market School, so the school can offer an additional handwashing station to staff and students. To the Napier’s, it’s just their way of supporting the community where they live and work.

The decision to sell the business wasn’t an easy one for the couple. They both “love the area and always have” said Stephanie. Both agree the job of running the store is very demanding, and with young children, it is the right time for a break and to spend more with their family. With more shutdowns anticipated, they expect they will be busy homeschooling and hope to take some time to enjoy the summer.

Chris says he “will miss the people. Without the great staff, we wouldn’t have gotten to where we have gotten. Thanks for supporting our business as much as you have.”

Stephanie echoed his sentiment, saying “we’ve been lucky to be part of such a great community. Not just wonderful staff but the wonderful members of the community we have gotten to know.”

Chris says they have no immediate plans and while the future may be uncertain, they are open to opportunities. We wish them well on whichever road they choose to follow.

Tammy Lindsay Schneider, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Kincardine Independent