49th Parallel Grocer was listed as a finalist in the 2020 Family Business Association Vancouver Island’s Family Business Excellence Award.
49th Parallel started in Ladysmith in the 1940s as a coffee shop in front of a couple’s home. The business of six employees was purchased in 1977 by Wayne and Harmina Richmond. The business has grown from an initial 2,000 square foot store to five locations ranging from 5,000 to 22,000 square feet with 275 employees. 49th was chosen as a finalist because it has been passed down to the next generation – Peter and Kathy Richmond.
Peter Richmond, president and CFO of 49th Parallel said the award affirmed the company’s commitment to being a local, family-run business.
There are no set plans to pass 49th Parallel to the third generation of Richmond’s at this time, but it is something that the Richmonds are thinking about going in to the future. For now, 49th is focused on their new store in Duncan. The 25,000 square foot store will be part of a new development at Berkey’s Corner in Duncan. Richmond said he’s hopeful the project will be completed in 12 months.
Nimmo Bay Wilderness Resort was the winner of the award. The resort is located in the Mackenzie Sound, and has been operating since 1981. Nimmo Bay Wilderness Resort offers helicopter fishing, and other wilderness adventures.
Another award, recognizing young entrepreneurs in family businesses was awarded to Erin Boggs, owner of Robinson’s Outdoor Store. The store was founded more than 90 years ago. Boggs has been in a leadership position with the store since 2005.
The awards will be presented at a gala ceremony at the Union Club of BC, Victoria, on February 12th and are given annually by FBA to recognize youth leadership and to celebrate and promote achievements of Vancouver Island family businesses and the considerable contributions they make to their local communities.