By Steve Hubrecht
Invermere’s Sobeys will soon see a change in leadership, with owners-operators Steve and Lori Ladas set to retire in just a few weeks.
The couple has been running the Invermere Sobeys for the past five years, which they have greatly enjoyed. But having spent 50 years in the grocery businesses, it’s time to step back.
“It was a tough decision to make,” Steve told the Pioneer. “We’ve enjoyed every minute of it.”
There is no new owner of the local Sobeys yet, but fear not, the store will remain open. Steve and Lori are franchisees, and the Invermere Sobeys will continue to operate as a corporate store until a new owner is found. The Ladases last official days as owners will be May 2, but the couple will stay on with store for a little while longer to ensure a smooth transition.
The couple started in the grocery business in Ontario before moving out west and eventually spent 12 years managing the corporate Sobeys store in Canmore. Once they’d had a taste of life out west, they were hooked, and when the chance to purchase the Invermere Sobeys came up they jumped on it.
“We’re both quite happy we took this (the Invermere store) on,” said Steve.“We’ve made many friends here. Many of them started as customers, then became friends.”
The couple may be leaving the grocery business, but they are not leaving the Columbia Valley.
“This is home. We have no intention of moving. We have a place in Radium and we love it,” said Steve. “It’s just that now it’s time to get out on the Harley a bit more.”
With more time on their hands the Ladases, aside from riding motorcycles, will spend more time taking advantage of all the recreation opportunities the Columbia Valley offers, as well as more time visiting kids and grandkids in Ottawa, Surrey and Calgary.
“We’ve never had a Christmas where we’re not working,” said Steve. “Now when we go to our daughter in Calgary for Christmas, we’ll be able to really see her, not just eat supper and then hop in the car and come back here to open the store the next day.”