A shopping service only recently introduced in Canadian cities has come to Pealow’s Your Independent Grocer in Creston.
Using PC Express, customers can now shop on-line, place their order, select a pickup time and have their order brought out to their vehicle. Grocery shopping without entering the store is here.
“We love seeing our customers in our store, meeting and getting to know them,” owner Brian Pealow said on Friday. “But we also understand that people are busy, and this new service can help with that.”
After a soft opening launch last week, the service is now in full swing.
“Orders began rolling in almost immediately, with no real announcement other than word of mouth,” Pealow said. He added that the timing was perfect, with the recent merger of PC Plus and Shoppers Optimum loyalty programs into PC Optimum, “A rewards plan unlike any other.”
The Creston store is among the leading edge of Loblaws stores in offering the on-line shopping experience. PC Express is now available in 650 stores across Canada and in 2020 it is expected that all of the more than 3,000 stores under the Loblaws umbrella will be offering the service.
Julia Pealow said that she and Brian appreciate that not every customer is comfortable with using a computer for on-line shopping, but they will be pleased to help in any way they can. Largely, though, the Pealows understand that their customers are all different.
“Some People really love shopping, and others see it only as a necessity—our goal is to give people of the Creston Valley the best experience we can,” Brian said. “If that means shopping at home in your pyjamas, that’s fine with us. The more comfortable we can make people, the happier we are.”
The Pealows are quick to embrace innovation, but it all starts with customer service and providing a good experience for shoppers. When they took over the store late in 2017 it had about 60 employees. That number has grown to 130, making the entrepreneurial couple one of the largest employers in the Creston Valley.
“We want to be the leaders—always taking on something new,” Brian said. “We are going to be in this business for the next 30-plus years and we want to continue to innovate and grow throughout that time.”
He described 2018 as a remarkable year of change, getting the store staff and equipment up to their standards and adding to the product selection. But the best is yet to come, he said. “2019 will probably be the most exciting year we’ll ever see,” he smiled. “We want this store to be as perfect for Creston as we can make it.”
Customers have already seen a rapid growth in locally produced goods on the shelves of Your Independent Grocer, but there is much more to come.
“We’ll be increasing the local product selection and we are working with producers to find the right products,” he said. “We can also help our local producers get the products into other stores, not only in the Kootenays, but the Lower Mainland as well.”
Part of their motivation is to expand awareness of the range of quality goods produced here in Creston.
“We chose Creston as a place to live in and do business in—you simply cannot beat this valley with all it has to offer.”
How does the on-line service work? Go into the store’s web site, https://www.yourindependentgrocer.ca (or download the app) and click on Pealow’s Your Independent Grocer Creston to get started. Creating an account is the starting point, and placing items into your shopping cart gets the ball rolling. Shoppers select the time they intend to pick up their order, which will be confirmed by email or phone two hours before the specified time. Email or telephone will be also be used to discuss substitutions. Payment can be made on-line or with a mobile point of sale machine that an employee will bring to your vehicle when you arrive to pick up the order.
When you arrive to pick up the order, simply call the store and the order will be brought out to your vehicle in minutes.
“We want to make it fun—our staff might even toss a bottle of water or a little treat for the kids into your order,” Pealow smiled.