The truth about Zehrs

As some of you may know I work as a buyer for a living. The main thing that I buy is food. You’d think I get sick of it, but there is something about grocery stores that fascinates me. Many people can attest to my dream of working in a grocery store since I was a very little girl. I wanted to have a day job and then work at Zehrs in the evenings. Didn’t seem that far off considering there were three different Zehrs in Cambridge – and now there are four. The head office was here in town and it would be a great possibility that I could work for the company.

Several years ago, the truth started to come to light that Zehrs was actually owned by Loblaws. Doing some research into this, it actually looks like Loblaws has owned the Zehrs Markets since 1963! A fact that astounds me as the head office for Zehrs was located in Hespeler for as long as I could remember. (Hespeler is a section of Cambridge – that’s a story for another day.)

With Loblaws owning Zehrs, I wondered what else they owned and the truth of the whole deal surprised me. They have more than 1000 corporate and franchised stores in Canada.

They are the parent company to

  • Dominion
  • Atlantic Superstore
  • Fortinos
  • The Great Canadian Superstore
  • Provigo
  • No Frills
  • Independant Grocers
  • Value Mart
  • Save Easy
  • Loblaws
  • Maxi and Maxi & Cie

And we can’t forget to mention PC Financial Services, Joe Fresh and Presidents Choice. It seems really crazy to have that many companies under one umbrella. But this is where it gets interesting. Loblaws is just the front. It’s the name for the company that everyone knows. What they don’t always know, that my Uncle Bob was kind enough to enlighten me, is that Loblaws is actually owned by The George Weston Company.

That company acts as a silent super power that no one really hears about. They hear about Loblaws but George Weston? What’s that???

Let me enlighten you – the George Weston Company has been around for a really long time – since the 1880’s in fact. They have two different factions in North America – Loblaws and Weston Foods. According to their website: Weston Foods is primarily engaged in the baking and dairy industries within North America. Loblaw is Canada’s largest food distributor and a leading provider of general merchandise, drugstore and financial products and services.

So basically Weston Foods makes the food that you want to eat, and Loblaws sells it. That makes them a huge player. It allows them to earn massive amounts of profit if they are the manufacturer and the distributor. You’d think that means we’d get discounts at the store level for bread – as this is the main item that I think of when thinking of Weston. mmmm… bread.

That is one thing that they do really well is run good bakeries in the Zehrs. James and I actually had the wedding cake we served our guests made by Zehrs. It was deliciously tasty. Now that they have stores with furniture, portrait studios, electronics, eyewear, florists and fresh foods – why go anywhere else? It appears that whatever they are doing, George Weston is being very smart about it.

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