Mike Saysell grew up in Lake Cowichan, and now he’s the proud store manager of Thrifty Foods Duncan.

Mike Saysell grew up in Lake Cowichan, and now he’s the proud store manager of Thrifty Foods Duncan.

‘It’s a great team and a great job. I’m one of the lucky ones.”

25 years in, local grocery store manager still loves coming to work every day in Duncan

Mike Saysell may manage a grocery store, but he says he’s in the people business.

“There’s such a connection with customers and staff; it goes far beyond the food we sell.”

In his 25 years with Thrifty Foods Saysell has enjoyed working with other passionate staff, whether they’re longtime employees like him or local teens working their first after school job.

“Seeing the team succeed — that’s what motivates me — helping them prosper in a safe, fun work environment. It’s a great team and a great job. I’m one of the lucky ones,” Saysell says. “Sometimes I’ll see young employees years later, and they still remember the lessons they learned working with me back in the day in the meat department.”

When it comes to customers, Saysell says his goal is “to thrill and inspire them.” Sometimes that’s with unique products with great quality, like their premium dry aged beef (which is carefully cured for 58 days for rich flavour and buttery texture), custom cheesecakes made fresh in-store, or the full-service flower shop. Thrifty Foods staff are always providing a great shopping experience for their customers, and Saysell says he’s fortunate to lead such a talented and dedicated team.

“It’s a team effort to ensure our staff and customers have felt happy and safe, especially over the past year,” he says. “We follow the protocols of BC Health, VI Health Authority, WorkSafe BC and our own company policies. Our staff brought forth their own ideas for a cleaner and safer store. It’s been quite a year, but our team has thrived under tough conditions.”

Community spirit

Saysell says Thrifty Foods has always been community-minded, and is used to doing a lot of “boots on the ground” volunteering. Before the pandemic, you’d often see the Thrifty Foods Duncan team at community events flipping burgers or filling Christmas hampers.

“We’re looking forward to being face-to-face with the community as soon as it’s safe. In the meantime we continue to support local programs like Backpacks for Schools, the SPCA, the Cowichan Valley Basket Society, Nourish Cowichan, Toonies for Tummies and other groups.”

Local food, from locals

Saysell grew up in Lake Cowichan and is proud to support Island growers in Thrifty Foods Duncan. Thrifty Foods picks BC producers first, and the company works directly with farmers, growers and producers in each region to bring fresh products to customers.

Find Thrifty Foods in Duncan at 1 Beverly St. right next to the TransCanada Highway.

  • Store hours: 7 days a week, 7 a.m. to 10 p.m.
  • Home delivery: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily
  • Curb-side pickup: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily
  • In-store Pharmacy: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on weekends and holidays
  • Freshly prepared bread, party platters, sushi, custom cakes and gift baskets made in-store

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