Despite no longer being community-owned, the Rutland IGA is still very much community forward.
The store was put under company ownership in 2017 but has kept up its reputation as a friendly and welcoming store.
Store Manager Todd Roberts has worked at the store for eight years, six with the previous owner, his father-in-law Dennis Mitchell.
“My father-in-law ran [IGA] for 30 years. He was a butcher and had an opportunity to buy it—which he did. He ran it for that period of time until about 2017 when we converted to a company store.”
Manager Todd Roberts sitting down with one of his employees for lunch. (Michael Rodriguez – Kelowna Capital News)
Corporate ownership has not affected the heart of the Rutland IGA. It’s a very relaxed, comfortable environment, in which you see cashiers, deli-workers and even Roberts himself joking around and having fun at work. Something that they believe sets them apart from the competition.
“My father-in-law was very involved in the community through various organizations, so he made sure that this store was part of the community through donations and staffing,” said Roberts.
“As a whole, Rutland has been a very community-oriented place. I think that was his focus, that this was a central hub for people to come to get their groceries and be a regular customer. Somebody that you could smile and say hi to on a regular basis.”
The community-friendly environment of the store even resulted in a relationship and subsequent marriage for Roberts.
“10 years ago, I used to work at [the liquor store next door],” said Roberts.
“She was the bakery manager, she started here when she was fifteen and she was here until about four years ago. “
And none of it would’ve been possible without the customers.
“The people here are the salt of the earth. Down to earth people that are hard-working, care for each other and the community,” said Roberts.