The Vista at Shaw Hall2

Michigan State University’s Culinary Services department offers a wealth of dining and retail opportunities to students and campus communities.

By Jim Harris

Michigan State University’s Culinary Services department offers more than just meals to students on the East Lansing, Mich., campus. The department’s physical and culinary offerings help to further the university’s mission of preparing students for the professional world by giving them a sense of community as well as something to eat.

“Feeling a sense of belonging can contribute to student success; we want students to be successful in and out of the classroom, and once they graduate and start their career we want them to be comfortable in what they do,” Executive Director of Culinary Services Guy Procopio says.

The department formed in 2008 following the combination of the university’s retail services and residential dining functions. During the re-organization, Procopio – who was named head of the new department – was tasked with creating an integrated operation that kept student success at the forefront. “We’re about more than just great food – we want to provide spaces that promote student success and help build community,” he says.

MSU Culinary Services’ retail food services include Sparty’s, an on-campus convenience store concept with 21 locations; two campus food courts, one of which is self-operated with the department’s own self-branded concepts while the other includes a corporate-owned Panda Express, a Subway franchise and a location for Woody’s Oasis, a local Mediterranean-style eatery; beverage and vending services and a food truck. The department also operates two Starbuck’s Coffee franchises as well as the concessions for on-campus athletic facilities.

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Product Consultant at tasting bar with customers

LCBO develops technology to enhance the customer experience and solidify its position as the premier destination for alcohol sales in Ontario.

By Tim O’Connor

What’s a bar without alcohol? For the Liquor Control Board of Ontario (LCBO), it’s a demonstration of social responsibility. The organization opened Bar Zero in November, a pop-up bar in Toronto specializing in 0 percent alcohol cocktails. “We try to show people having a good time and a safe time are one and the same,” says Keeley Rogers, LCBO senior communications consultant.

Bar Zero is just the latest in LCBO’s 90-year history of responsible stewardship of Ontario’s alcohol industry. The organization, which is one of the world’s largest buyers and retailers of alcohol, lessens its carbon footprint by transporting product on waterways such as the St. Lawrence Seaway, utilizes lighter-weight, recyclable glass bottles and chemically tests all of the products it sells.

Its responsibility extends to consumer education. LCBO works with organizations such as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and launched its own website, www.alwaystakingcare.ca, to promote moderate consumption and safe drinking practices.

The LCBO’s socially responsible practices are tied to the organization’s status as an enterprise of the government of Ontario, making it effectively owned by the province’s taxpayers. LCBO stems back to 1927 when Ontario was the last southern province to end prohibition and created the LCBO as a means to control the distribution and sale of beer and spirits. The enterprise now operates 657 retail stores throughout Ontario and earns $5.57 billion in revenue. Those sales provide a direct benefit to the province through an annual dividend – $1.935 billion in 2015-16 – that funds roads, health programs and other infrastructure projects and public initiatives in Ontario.

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Tradewinds believes in giving back to the community as much as it possibly can.

By Chris Petersen

Every company wants to be successful, but Tradewinds stands out because it invests heavily in ensuring that its communities are successful, too. CEO Chuck Lawrence says the company is committed to making sure the communities it serves in Maine thrive just as much as its supermarkets, convenience stores and car washes. By investing in employee housing, donating to local charities and supporting other local businesses, Tradewinds is keeping Maine a vibrant place to live and work for the future, Lawrence says.

Originally operating a single supermarket location in Blue Hill, Maine, Lawrence discovered an opportunity to expand when another supermarket in the area burned down. Lawrence bought the property and built his second supermarket, which has been expanded several times to become the flagship of the Tradewinds Marketplace chain today.

Today, the company has four supermarkets, five convenience stores and two car washes under its umbrella, and although the company faces some strong competition in at least one of its markets from Walmart, Tradewinds nevertheless thrives thanks in no small part to the people it has in place.

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Liquor Depot 36Liquor Stores continues to grow in a very stable market.

By Alan Dorich

Liquor Stores N.A. Ltd. not only makes sure its stores have the beverages its clients want, but also quality employees to help them. “The company continues to focus on getting the best people on board so we offer some of the best retailing in North America,” President and CEO Stephen Bebis declares.

Based in Edmonton, Alberta, Liquor Stores has 252 locations across North America that sell adult beverages. The company’s history goes back to the early 1990s, when its home province’s government decided to privatize liquor retail.

Liquor Stores’ founders had worked in the real estate business and had several shopping centers in their portfolio. They decided to put liquor stores in their centers and purchased locations that were formerly owned by the government.

“They grew the business from zero to where it is today,” Bebis says, noting that the company has Liquor Depot and Liquor Barn locations in Alberta, British Columbia, Alaska, Kentucky and Connecticut. “We’re one of the top specialty retailers in North America.”

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