THUNDER BAY – Brent Battistelli, Chair of Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers (CFIG), John F.T. Scott, President and CEO, and the CFIG Board of Directors are pleased to announce Yuri Stezenko of Quality Market as a 2012 recipient of CFIG’s prestigious Life Member Designation.
In March of 1949, Yuri Stezenko came to Canada at the age of nine. His family fled the Communist regime and the second Great War. They settled in the small village of Hurkett, Ontario and Yuri began his education in a small one-room school. Five years later, the family moved to Port Arthur, Ontario (now called Thunder Bay.)
It was there that he began his grocery career, when he was hired by Canada Safeway as a courtesy clerk. Yuri had aspirations of entering the diplomatic field, but the offer of a promotion to assistant manager changed his career path. After more than thirty years, managing numerous stores and acting as relief district manager, Yuri was offered an opportunity to open his own store.
This lined up well with his passion to serve his community and his life-long desire to have his own business. So it was with much prayer and the support of his wife and three children that the decision was made to purchase their first store. Thus, Quality Market was born in 1988, and seven years later another store was acquired.
Yuri could not have envisioned a state-of-the-art Quality Market Fresh store providing fresh and prepared foods for shut-ins and busy professionals, nor on-line shopping for local customers and as an outreach to northern communities. But these are some of the ways the company is growing.
After more than 49 years in the grocery business, Yuri retired and turned the stores over to his two sons, David and Dan.
“For years, Yuri was the unofficial torch-bearer for grocers in North Western Ontario” said John Scott, President and CEO of CFIG. “The passion and dedication he displayed towards his craft was infectious and his commitment to CFIG has rubbed off on his sons David and Dan, who continue to carry on the Stezenko name as leading entrepreneurs in Thunder Bay.”
Yuri Stezenko will be officially recognized on Monday October 1st at Grocery Innovations Canada 2012, Canada’s premier grocery exposition and conference, during CFIG’s Luncheon of Honour, taking place at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre.