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In Their Own Words

A sit-down with 2023 Grocery Business Hall of Fame inductees
image of two man
image of two man
Robert Shapiro accepted the Grocery Business Hall of Fame award on behalf of his father, Dan Shapiro, a former Loblaw executive who retired in 2000 and passed away in March 2022.

First job in business: Grade four, working at the local variety store in Park Royal, Ham’s Variety, pricing and stocking products for a $1.25 an hour; from there I moved to part time grocery clerk at Steinbergs Park Royal Mississauga.

Mentors in the business: While I was working part time, Ken Oates, my grocery manager, provided great insight into why the business could be a career. Ted Connoy, my grocery specialist at Miracle Food Mart, and Mike Marinangeli helped shape my career from a store operations and merchandising perspective. Glenn Murphy helped shape my move to the drug store side of the retail and understanding of consumer dynamics.

What did you like about the industry? The people! The skills you learn as you develop your people skills are transferable to other segments of retail, and to your life.

Memorable career moments: I have had many, some good, some disappointing, but they all helped shape me and my career. To start my career at Miracle Food Mart was a gift. The people, process and culture helped me see what was possible when you worked as a team. At Oshawa Foods, it was working with a talented team to develop the Garden Market I.G.A. program, then moving to Shoppers Drug Mart to work with a talented group to grow a world class drug store chain.

Advice to people who want to maximize their potential: The retail business will develop hard and soft skills in life. You learn a lot about the consumer. This will help shape your career, but if you are not paying attention to the soft skills, working with people, building a strong team and developing leaders behind you, then your career will not be as fulfilling as you hoped when you look back. Retail is a wonderful career choice; enjoy the ride.

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