RE: Sticking up for Sobey’s
Blair van Veld >As an entrepreneur and avid reader of your magazine I was deeply disappointed (and angered) to read “What’s in store?”, an article about the Sobeys/Safeway deal, by Stephen Kimber.
So many times I’ve read in your magazine that we as Atlantic Canadians need to hold our heads high and be proud of our accomplishments. One of those entrepreneurial accomplishments from this region is the Sobey’s family empire.
As a local entrepreneur born and raised in Pictou County (Home of Sobeys, Empire Co and Crombie REIT), I have always held the family and their businesses in high regard. They are an example of a focused entrepreneurial family. I know a multi-billion-dollar empire doesn’t need me to stick up for them, however in this case I have no problem voicing my opinion. They are a driving force in our region employing literally thousands of people, including some of my closest friends and family. They are extremely charitable and have provided financial gifts throughout this country, including to Dalhousie University of which I am an Alumni. The article’s overall negativity was disheartening.
I am also disgusted by the Dean of Management at Dalhousie. It’s unbelievably easy to criticise a business when you yourself have never been in that position. How can you sit back and take yourself seriously? Last time I checked, Charlebois wasn’t heading a multi-billion-dollar company or even worked for one making the kind of tough decisions that Poulin had to make. It’s so easy after the fact to pick apart a decision that was made. It’s like hockey announcers who go over and over a bad play, writing on their screen and talking about “what the player should have done”. As a player, mistakes are made. It’s the same with entrepreneurship, and next time around you try not to make that same mistake. The key word here being “try”.
At the end of the day, Sobey’s is still the second largest grocer in the country, which is certainly something to be proud of. They have continued to take huge entrepreneurial risks (unlike what I see from Charlebois who has spent his entire life teaching, as not one business accomplishment is listed on his Dalhousie profile) such as the $5.6 billion takeover of Safeway.
I say cut the Sobey’s family and management a break, we all make mistakes. As entrepreneurs you live with them and move on. The Sobey’s family are role models for all entrepreneurs in Atlantic Canada and I commend the risks they have taken and will take in the future.
Pay It Forward
Last August, Atlantic Business Magazine launched a contest to showcase Canada’s creative talents and to help advertising agencies in their efforts to give back to the community. The prize, worth $30,000+, consists of six full page ads in our print edition plus for bonus content on our website, in our digital edition and on social media. By the time this magazine is published, the winner will be announced on our website. Special thanks to the following for volunteering their time and expertise to assessing the entries for our contest:
Martin Lainez is a marketing director at Visa Canada. He has 13+ years of experience in marketing in which he has managed leading packaged goods brands both in Canada and Peru. Martin loves the mix of getting to work with creative types while at the same time using a disciplined approach to analytics.
Miriam Zitner is the director of business development and client service at Stewart McKelvey and has close to 20 years of experience developing and managing B2B and B2C marketing communications strategies for Fortune 100 technology companies (including Intel, IBM and Microsoft), academic institutions, associations, biotechnology and energy companies.
Valerie Eddy is the regional marketing manager (Atlantic) for Grant Thornton, a national accounting and advisory firm. She has worked in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and southeast Asia and has collaborated with many global and local creative agencies to deliver compelling communication campaigns designed to build brands, drive topline growth and educate consumers.