Tru Value named family business of the year

2017 Family Business Excellence Award will be held on Feb. 9 at Beach House Restaurant in Cordova Bay

Dean Clarke became a partner in Tru Value Foods in 2005. Tru Value is the 2017 winner of the Family Business Excellence Award for its five locations on Vancouver Island and the Gulf Islands

For the second straight year, a Saanich-based company has won the Family Business Association Vancouver Island annual award.

Dean Clarke, a shareholder and partner in the business development for Tru Value Foods, will accept the 2017 Family Business Excellence Award on Feb. 9 at a gala held at the Beach House Restaurant, across the road from Tru Value’s Cordova Bay location.

Dodd’s Furniture and Prince of Whales Whale Watching were the other 2017 finalists.

“It’s really rewarding to know that someone believes in us,” Clarke said. “This is from a group of people who looked at our company and said, [Tru Value] is doing things right.”

The award is given annually by the Family Business Association to recognize, celebrate and promote achievements of Vancouver Island family businesses. Black Press is a sponsor of the Family Business Association.

Clarke has worked in the grocery business for all of his career, previously at Thrifty Foods and now with Tru Value.

Tru Value was originally started with the support of Thrifty Foods to bring a smaller footprint into Island communities. There are now two locations on Quadra Island, as well as Mayne Island, Pender Island and Cordova Bay. Thrifty’s Campbell family was also instrumental in starting the FBA, which brings the grocery angle full circle.

Other past winners include Saanich’s McCall Gardens and Wilson’s Transportation (2016), as well as Capital Iron, Country Grocer, Pacific Sands Resort, Robinson’s Outdoor Store, Monk Office and Accent Inns. Tru Value was a finalist in 2016.

Clarke has been a partner with Tru Value Foods since 2005 and, at one point, each of his three sons have worn the Tru Value apron. Brett, 32, is now the Tru Value CFO.

“We grew up in the grocery business, my daughter Dana even worked for me [at Thrifty’s],” Clarke said. “It’s a real pleasure to work with your kids, I really enjoy it, I recommend it to anyone. Brett is in a very senior position and we have some interesting conversations.”

Clarke’s sons Ryan and Owen also contributed but have moved on. Ryan, like his sister Dana, works for the province while Owen is in law school. Owen was actually a meat cutter at the Cordova Bay store. The Saanich location also has an office from which general manager Phil Greenhalgh oversees store operations for the chain.

Today, Clarke is involved as both a shareholder and as a lead at the operational level, fulfilling a business development role with the company. Brett has taken on his own shareholding position and is using his bachelor of commerce by taking responsibility for financial management and business functions of Tru Value, Clarke said.

To purchase tickets to the Feb. 9 gala at the Beach House visit