Sharpe’s through the Years
- After 13 years of business, Bruce Sharpe closes The Sharpe Market in York Township in favour of trading in the hustle and bustle of Toronto for a quieter life
- In 1962 Bruce and Marian Sharpe become two of the founders of the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers (CFIG) which today represents over 4,000 grocery retailers
- Bruce and Marian Sharpe purchase the former site of the Campbellford Arena for $18,000 with an additional commitment to grant $1,800 to the town to be used toward the building of a new community centre
- Bruce and Marian Sharpe, along with their children Blaine, Steve, Tom and Margaret relocate to Campbellford
- On May 8, 1963, His Worship Mayor Morley Tanner cuts the ribbon to declare The Sharpe Market officially open for business at the corner of Front and Market Streets in Campbellford
- The new modern super market features 5,100 square feet of retail space, parking for 60 cars, wide aisles and modern refrigeration units and is built of precast concrete
- Opening specials included lean stewing beef for 49¢ a pound, sliced Maple Leaf bologna for 25¢ a pound, ED Smith Jam 9oz jars sold two for 77¢ and a tube of Colgate toothpaste sold for just 29¢
- In May 1974 The Sharpe Market changes its name to Sharpe’s $uper $ave of Campbellford
- In 1976 Sharpe’s $uper $ave of Havelock opens
- In 1978 Sharpe’s $uper $ave of Campbellford is presented with The National Dairy Council of Canada Award of Excellence for outstanding achievement in promoting Canadian Cheese
- Featured specials include 6-packs of Coca-Cola for 49¢ and Aunt Jemima Pancake Mix for 99¢
- In 1980 an addition increases the total retail space of the Campbellford store to 11,000 square feet
- New Bag-O-Mat technology is introduced at check out counters. Bag-O-Mat was a bagging device that fabricated paper bags on the spot from a roll inside the machine to fit a customer’s grocery order.
- In 1985 Sharpe’s $uper $ave of Campbellford changes its name to Sharpe’s Food Market while Sharpe’s $uper $ave of Havelock is sold
- In 1985 Bruce Sharpe passed away and his sons John, Steve and Tom take over operation of the family business
- In 1987 the store undergoes the 6th expansion in just eight years, increasing the space by another 4,000 square feet
- In 1989 the store wins the Foodland Ontario Retailer Award which recognizes grocery retailers for their in-store promotion of fresh Ontario food
- Featured specials include 500g of Schneider’s bacon for $1.59, four fresh Kaiser rolls for 69¢ and regular ground beef for $1.19 a pound
- In 1991 an extensive renovation to floral, produce, meat and deli departments is complete and a new logo is revealed
- In 1992 Sharpe’s Food Market receives the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers Award of Merit
- In 1996 the store wins the Gold All Season Foodland Ontario Retailer Award
- In 1996 Sharpe’s Food Market joins the IGA chain and becomes Sharpe’s IGA
2000 to present day
- In 2001, a 5,000 square foot expansion brings the total space to its current size of 25,000 square feet
- In 2004 Sharpe’s IGA is awarded the IGA Retailer of the Year Award for demonstrating excellence, and the highest level of achievement in community involvement, employee development, merchandising innovation, IGA Brand support and marketing
- In 2007 Sharpe’s receives the CFIG Diamond Achievement Award
- In the fall of 2007 the Sharpe family decide to leave the IGA chain and go back to their roots as an independent grocer again becoming Sharpe’s Food Market
- 2008 marks another expansion, this time in the form of an acquisition of a 33,000 square foot warehouse located within the town of Campbellford. The warehouse features a 2,000 square foot freezer with an additional 1,000 square foot cooler. The warehouse allows Sharpe’s to buy directly from the manufacturer, cutting out the middle man, to remain competitive and offer the lowest prices to shoppers.
- In 2009 the store is the recipient of the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers (CFIG) Arnold Rands Heritage Award. This award is given to the year’s best multi-generational grocery store that has been privately owned, in the same family for at least two generations, in the community for a minimum of 35 years.
- In 2010 Marian receives a Lifetime Member designation from CFIG for her outstanding contribution to the independent grocer community and in recognition as the only surviving founding member
- For years, Sharpe’s Food Market has competed in the coast to coast competition for the coveted Canadian Independent Grocer of the Year Award presented by CFIG and has received an Award of Merit. This award is the most prestigious award bestowed by CFIG and is awarded for retailing excellence and innovation, store team performance, customer service, space utilization, freshness and cleanliness.
- In 2011 Sharpe’s Food Market is inducted into the CFIG Hall of Fame for consistently demonstrating excellence and wins the CFIG Platinum Achievement Award
- In 2012 Steve is awarded the 3rd Annual Champion League’s Award at the Ontario Disability Employment Network. The Champion’s League awards are given to a select group of business leaders that have demonstrated a commitment to including people who have a disability in the workforce.
- Sharpe’s Food Market currently employs 89 “food experts” including some who have been with the business for over 30 years. All of Bruce and Marian’s 10 grandchildren have at one time or are currently working for the store truly making it a family business.
- In 2013 to celebrate their 50th anniversary they fed the town. Over 1000 people came to celebrate the occasion that included live music, bouncy castle, face painting and much more. Pictures are available here
Sharpe’s Food Market has seen its share of changes over the past 50 years but has never strayed from it commitment to the community. From the initial opening when Bruce and Marian Sharpe made a significant $1,800 contribution towards building a new community centre in 1963 to the current tape-saver beneficiaries, the Sharpe family has given back thousands of dollars to the benefit of local residents. In 1980 when the Campbellford District Curling and Racquet Club opened, Bruce and Marian became big supporters, giving so generously that one of the courts has been named after them.
Although the organizations which Sharpe’s Food Market has contributed to through the years are too many to name, some of the areas they have sponsored include Melodies at the Mill summer concert series, the Campbellford/Seymour Fire Department, the United Way, local minor sports teams, the Campbellford Memorial Hospital and Westben Arts Festival Theatre.
The unique tape-saver program at Sharpe’s Food Market allows customers to choose a local charity they would like to see the store support by dropping their receipts in a box on the way out of the store. The small boxes give you the choice of many local charities to support just by shopping there. Sharpe’s gives back 1% of all sales from the tapes to the charities designated. A customer and avid blogger had this to say about the program “When you have paid for groceries, if you put your receipt into one of those boxes, Sharpe’s will make a donation to that organization based on a percentage of your bill. Where else does that?
This allows us to begin a conversation with our children about charity, about helping the community. It allows a dialogue that encourages children to think about something bigger than them. It shows them that the world is not just about them, that the world is a better place when we do our share and help others. It encourages children to learn about altruism. All of this just from buying groceries.”
In addition to making financial donations, the Sharpe family value a commitment of leadership in volunteering. Bruce was a member of the Campbellford Rotary Club, serving as president from 1983-84. He was also an active member of the Trent Hills & District Chamber of Commerce, sitting on the Board of Directors and was a founding member of the BIA. Marian has participated in many local clubs and activities, always looking to lend a hand to make the community a better place to live.
The tradition of community service carries on throughout the Sharpe family. Steve held the position of president with the Rotary Club from 1992-93 and is a past President of the Chamber of Commerce Board as well as the Campbellford BIA. The torch is now being passed onto his son, Mike, who has recently become a Director with the Chamber of Commerce and a member of the Rotary Club of Campbellford. Tom and John are known to donate their time and numerous talents to many worthwhile charitable causes.
Through fun, in-store promotions including pumpkin contests, dog shows, pie and cake baking competitions, parades, midnite madness sales and customer appreciation events where they have provided free meals for as many as 4,000 people in one weekend, Sharpe’s has shown it is anything but your run of the mill grocery store and the owners and staff look forward to sharing many more memories with its customers and staff in the years to come.