Pete Luckett’s stores to become arm of Sobey’s

A hero to foodies across Canada is set to sell his retail and wholesale grocery businesses in Nova Scotia off to grocery giant Sobeys.

Pete Luckett, the owner of the Pete’s Fine Foods stores in Halifax and Bedford, N.S. and a related wholesale business, announced Thursday he’ll sell those operations to Nova Scotia-based Sobeys for an undisclosed sum. The deal is expected to wrap up Monday (Nov. 2).

The “open concept” stores specialize in produce and other fresh groceries including deli, bakery, meat and fish sections.

“It’s the right time for me to transition from the grocery industry into the winery business,” Luckett said in Sobeys’ release, referring to Luckett Vineyards, which he opened in Nova Scotia’s Gaspereau Valley in 2011.

Sobeys said it plans to continue to operate the stores under the Pete’s Fine Foods brand and “maintain the unique market culture and customer-focused flair for food on which the business was built.”

Luckett will continue in a “consulting capacity” with the business and its management and staff will be “provided with employment in their current roles,” Sobeys said.

“Pete has instilled a unique culture in his stores and a food offer that resonates with his customers. We don’t want to change that,” Peter Doucette, general manager for Sobeys Atlantic, said in the same release.

Rather, he said, Sobeys plans to “build the Pete’s brand and grow the opportunities for the business in Atlantic Canada. With Sobeys’ resources and ability to support growth and expansion in the region, we can make that happen.”

“With this agreement, customers can enjoy peace of mind knowing that the stores will continue to prosper and expand while offering that same extraordinary shopping experience,” Luckett said.

Luckett, who started his greengrocer career in England’s outdoor food markets, moved to Canada in 1979 and started the “Pete’s Frootique” business in New Brunswick in 1982, eventually shifting his operations to three Nova Scotia stores, the Pete’s Fine Foods outlets in Halifax, Bedford and Wolfville.

The Wolfville store closed in May this year, however, as the company said it “struggled to capture local customers.”

Luckett has become a well-known media personality and speaker during his career in Atlantic Canada. He appeared regularly for 14 years on the CBC TV program Midday, showcasing new and exotic varieties of fresh produce for viewers across the country. He later hosted a “food adventure” TV series, The Food Hunter, on the Food Network from 2002 to 2004. –– AGCanada.com Network

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