When Dan Bigelow came to Nesters Market in Summerland from a much larger food retailer a year ago, he noticed a smaller company with a more intimate atmosphere with good morale and friendly customers.
“It’s a great place with a lot of good people,” he said.
He also was taken back by the selection of foods on the shelves.
“There’s stuff at Nesters I didn’t even know existed,” he said.
He explained that customers at Nesters have asked for a lot of healthy choices on the shelves at the grocery store.
Nesters Market employs around 70 full-time and part-time workers.
For some, working at the grocery store is their first job, and a lot of younger employees will stay at the store from the time they are 15 until they graduate.
In spring, 10 employees graduated, including seven who had been there since they were 15.
For the high school students, working at Nesters is a good introduction to the workplace, as they learn many skills.
“We all do a little bit of everything,” Bigelow said.
While there is a lot of turnover when students graduate from high school, older employees at the store tend to stay much longer. Some of the staff have been with the store for 25 and 30 years.
Part of the reason Bigelow made the move to Nesters Market was to work in the community where he lives.
Community involvement is also an important part of the grocery store, as Nesters has worked to have a strong presence in Summerland.
Each year, the store sponsors numerous community organizations and initiatives, and receives requests to assist with many more.
Bigelow said determining which causes to support can be a challenge.
“What’s going to make the most impact on the community of Summerland?” he asks when considering requests. “Unfortunately you can’t help everyone.”
While community impact plays a large role in determining which sponsorship requests Nesters takes on, Bigelow added that the store also gets involved in some things because they look like fun.
One example is the store’s participation in the Giants Head Grind, a fundraising race from the shores of Okanagan Lake to the top of Giant’s Head Mountain.
Each year, staff from Nesters are at the upper parking lot of Giant’s Head Mountain on the day of the grind, providing snacks and ice cream bars for the participants.
The store has also been a participant in the annual Festival of Lights in late November, providing hot food to festival goers on a cool evening.
Nesters Market has a customer rewards program which also allows participants to collect points for savings or to donate their points to a variety of community charities. The program is available through a mobile app or as a card.
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