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Sweet deal: Charlottetown couple lives, works and opens Foodland together

Rhonda Victor and Jack Dunn are having a grand re-opening on Saturday for their Foodland Charlottetown franchise after renovations in the summer. (Terrence McEachern/The Guardian)
Rhonda Victor and Jack Dunn are having a grand re-opening on Saturday for their Foodland Charlottetown franchise after renovations in the summer. (Terrence McEachern/The Guardian)

Rhonda Victor and Jack Dunn first met as teenagers while working at the former Co-op store in downtown Charlottetown (on Queen and Richmond streets).

Who would have guessed decades later they would be Foodland Charlottetown’s newest franchise owners.

But that’s what happened to Victor and Dunn, who kept in touch over the years, reunited and are now in a relationship.

“This deal came up to franchise the business. And it only made sense that the two of us would franchise it and work together,” said Dunn.

“It’s worked out tremendous. We live together. We work together. We’re together almost 24-7. We get along fabulously. We’re great life partners. We’re great work partners. Not everybody can do that.”

The couple bought the Sobeys-owned franchise in September 2016.

On Saturday, the store is having its grand re-opening after months of renovations this summer.

The renovations involved a new bakery, an expanded produce section, an expanded deli with take home meals (such as barbecued whole chickens) and upgraded refrigeration equipment to be environmentally friendly.

Both Dunn and Victor have extensive experience in the grocery store industry. Dunn worked for 35 years for Co-op, including eight years as an area manager. Victor has been a manager with the Walker Drive store for eight years.

 

“It’s worked out tremendous. We live together. We work together. We’re together almost 24-7. We get along fabulously. We’re great life partners. We’re great work partners. Not everybody can do that.”
-Jack Dunn

 

Rhonda Victor and Jack Dunn are having a grand re-opening on Saturday for their Foodland Charlottetown franchise after renovations in the summer. (Terrence McEachern/The Guardian)

 

 

The couple recognize that they may not have the biggest grocery store in the city, but that can have advantages as well. Dunn explained the goal isn’t to compete with the larger stores, but instead focus on customer service.

“We’re an aging population and not everyone wants to go to the larger stores for a large or small order. So, we thrive on what we do well. And what we do well is customer service,” Dunn said.

With residential development in the area, the store’s location off Kensington Road is also a key to its success.

“We’re in the Sherwood area. And, there really is no retailer that close to us. We do have our own community. And, there are people that don’t want to go to the bigger stores. They like the fact that they can come in here and we can call them by name and they can call us by name,” said Dunn.

Besides customer service, Dunn said two items in the store help set the store apart – Patty’s Potato Salad (named after the deli manager) and the in-store corned beef.

“Two items we like to hang our hats on,” he said.

Victor and Dunn agree that life as an owner is different from that of a manager. Dunn added that there is more responsibility and that you “own” the good and the bad.

“If something happens (and) it’s not so positive, it’s yours. If it happens and it’s positive, it’s yours. I don’t mean just us. It’s our team. We have a fabulous team and we’re blessed to have the team that we do,” he said. “And, I think that is the difference between a successful business and not so successful business – the people.”

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