I don’t know about you but I, personally, found it difficult to realize that it’s been four years since Randy Somogyi, and, by association, his wife Lisa, took over the ownership and operation of Highland Valley Foods. And, that’s been an event Logan Lake continues to celebrate!

I met recently with Randy to talk about the past, the present and the future of HVF. He started off by saying how happy he is to be a part of the community, although it’s taken time to gain the confidence of residents and to overcome the pessimism and, yes, the anger, that met him on his arrival because of the store’s past history. And, it’s still a challenge. However, getting to know people on a more personal basis and working with his staff each day to provide nothing less than first class service, has helped to defuse the negativity. Nevertheless, it continues to be a challenge overcoming the belief that a community grocery store rips off customers when, in fact, his store’s pricing is competitive with those in larger centers and is often better. And think of the gas savings!

And, this year marks Randy’s 40th year in the grocery business so he truly knows his “stuff”. Some of the things Randy is particularly proud of include: fresh baking from Kamloops’ Craig’s Bakery which he personally delivers to HVF each day, the store’s meat and produce departments that are, in his opinion, “second to none” because his staff works hard to provide products that are the best in both quality and variety, and last, but certainly not least, that each of his knowledgeable, friendly staff works hard to care for and about shoppers.

The other thing from the past I asked about was Randy’s intention of “giving back” to the community. He acknowledged that, like every other small business in Logan Lake, there are many requests for support. And, as much as he’d like to, often, no, has to be the answer. However, in 2010, the local Boy Scout organization benefited from HVF’s financial commitment and this year, it was the Logan Lake Food Bank.

Nevertheless, Randy and Highland Valley Foods have worked successfully to support other community events including Lobsterfest and Logan Lake Day.

But now, it’s time for Randy to get back to work. In parting, he said he wanted to encourage residents to shop local because, for him, it will mean he’ll be able to continue to provide residents with a wide choice of products at competitive prices. In the very near future, he’s hoping to make some significant changes in the lay-out of the store. So stay tuned.

By the time you read this, I’ll be off on a summer break. But, a fabulous young Logan Laker, Kayleen Williston, will continue to provide Logan Lake stories. So, be sure to share your ideas and suggestions with her and I’ll see you in September!

You’re invited to a free event at the library on Saturday, July 16, where from 12:30 – 3 p.m., Rod Smith, an expert in geocaching, will be speaking.