THUNDER BAY, ON ------- September 26, 2010 ------ With their daughters holding on the red ribbon, Dan and Dave Stezenko prepare to cut the ribbon officially opening their new Quality Market. During the preliminary speeches one invited guest after another praised the brothers for being inspiring entrepreneurs, for being leaders rather than followers, and for being a part of the community.
I toured the new store, located right beside the Tim Hortens on Golf Links Road. It is indeed a new store as opposed to another store. Rather than a corporate developed model which should work in a city like Thunder Bay, the brothers developed their own concept of what a successful food store could and should offer its customers. To start with the store is strategically located on what will become one of the city’s main traffic arteries. People coming home from work will have a wide selection of fresh local produce available to them, as well as produce from all around the world. I mentioned to Dan that the store looks like a Maltese’s Grocery on steroids. He laughed and replied, “We are a Fresh Store, not a grocery store.”
The store is not as large as the one that they just closed in County Park. It is the kind of place where customers can come in and quickly find quality food in a hurry and head home for a good supper. To make that task even simpler you can purchase fresh made entries to entirely prepared meals. In fact Quality Mart has a complete menu of wholesome dinners that they will prepare and deliver to your door. Some stores will deliver groceries but most will not cook for you too.
One thing that I like about living in Thunder Bay is we so things slightly different here, and some of those different things we do involve food. You can find locally made cabbage rolls, perogies, local gouda cheese and produce of all types in this store.
Opening this store is a big move for the brothers, and I think that the store will have an impact on shoppers. This place is not about the cheapest price, it is about a family run business that is a part of the community. It will provide freshness, quality and service with a smile that the large box stores cannot deliver.
This is the kind of store that can compete against the large chain stores. There will always be customers where price is an issue, but for many working people time and quality time with family at home is more important. For this type of family having access to a food store like this will add to their quality of life.
Then there are those who are busy and single. You can purchase parts of a meal, entries and all sorts of prepared food, made fresh daily in the store to augment you meals at home.
The instore salad bar is better stocked than most restaurants. Dan Stezenko and partners out a lot of thought and detail into every aspect of the store. The selection and location of every item in the store is based on years of experience and knowledge of what customers in Thunder Bay like to eat. Because of their effort we now have a place where busy shoppers can get what they want quickly and be assured that their purchase is the best quality available.
Being a part of the community has played a big part in their business success in the past and it will be an essential part of the company’s prosperity in the future. In her address Mayor Lynn Peterson said the Quality Mart affected her household because they delivered groceries to her elderly mom’s home, allowing her to live independently longer. Her family was grateful for the service that the store provided. With the store’s meals on wheels program, they will soon be delivering much more than groceries!