Thrifty Foods Crown Isle store manager Jeff Ackinclose may be from the South Island originally, but he has strong roots in the Comox Valley.
Ackinclose, 37, grew up in Sidney, just outside of Victoria, but ever since he can remember his family would spend time in the Comox Valley.
“We’ve had a summer home, since I was born basically, in Fanny Bay, right on Ships Point. So every summer we’d spend basically three weeks in the summer,” he says. “I fell in love with the area so, first chance, came back up here.”
That chance came in 2001 when Ackinclose took over the store manager position in the downtown Thrifty Foods location in Courtenay. He moved here with his wife and three kids for two years, before the family moved back down to Victoria so Ackinclose could manage the Admirals Walk Thrifty Foods in Esquimalt for five years.
“I basically missed the area, and wanted, first chance I could, to get (back) up here,” he says. The “Campbell River store opened up and I moved the family back up Island four years ago — I actually live on the same street that I sold in 2004, a couple houses down.”
Ackinclose lives in the Aspen Park area of Comox and notes he loves the location, especially because of the proximity to schools where his kids aged 12, eight and four, attend.
He commuted to Campbell River each day, and says he loved the community there, but he’s happy to be so close to home now that he’s settled in the new Thrifty Foods at the corner of Lerwick and Ryan roads.
“It’s really close to home — today I went and had Mr. Noodles with my four-year-old daughter, which I never got that opportunity before,” he says during an interview Friday. “A big part of it was being closer to the schools — one’s at Aspen (Park Elementary), one’s at Tigger Too (Preschool), and I haven’t been able to leave my lunch hours and go all the way down and back up.
“So that’s the only part of the drive that I didn’t like, was the fact that I wasn’t close enough to the kids as far as schooling goes, and couldn’t just jump out of work for half-an-hour and go see a play or a parent-teacher (conference), so I’m looking forward to being more involved in the schools.”
Ackinclose also enjoys being in the Comox Valley for a number of other reasons.
“The scenery, the boating, the fishing — I’ve been brought up fishing up here,” he says. “The Islands, Hornby and Tree Island, I love to spend time there, golf courses, just the laid-back atmosphere.”
Ackinclose has worked for Thrifty Foods since he was 16, which is nearly 21 years now. But even before he started his first position at Thrifty Foods, Ackinclose worked for his father in the family’s butcher shop in Sidney, which he started helping with when he was nine.
“My dad had a butcher shop, Sidney Town Butcher it was called, and that was sort of, my brothers and I were, well I wouldn’t say forced (laughs) but it taught us our work ethic and I definitely would not ever take away that experience,” he says.
Ackinclose notes Thrifty Foods has been an excellent company to work for and he’s looking forward to getting involved in community initiatives in the new store’s area.
“I really look forward to getting involved in the community in the East Courtenay and the Comox area and really try to help out where we can,” he says.