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(featuring Save-on-Foods)

This Amazing Story happened on a crisp fall October afternoon inside Country Club Centre, where we met up with Holly, Kristal, and their supervisor, Save-on-Foods’ Assistant Store Manager, Mandy Wass – at tables that were spread out inside the mall, just outside their grocery store.  Being a busy afternoon for the three of them, we ended up having separate conversations – but we were excited to speak each with them, just the same.  This is Holly’s Amazing Story. 


Before sitting down for their chat, Barb Barry, NACL Employment Services Manager, offered to treat Holly to a beverage at what was then Kaldi Café.  As soon as they walked in, the manager greeted Holly by name, and was very apologetic that he didn’t have any Coca-Cola to offer her that day – but was still very happy to see her! 

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It became clear very quickly as Holly and Barb sat at their table in the mall that Holly was well known within the Country Club environment and beyond.  As they chatted, there were definitely a few “Hello, Holly!” greetings said as people passed by.  One gentleman stopped to ask how she was doing, and to find out if she was still working at Lowe’s.  She let him know that she was “here now” – pointing to the Save-on-Foods doors.     

It was awesome to witness this natural, organic “connectivity of community,” where people get to know you just by seeing where you spend your time and/or through their interactions with you – even if it’s where you might take a break or maybe have a drink/snack during your workday (which for Holly, is usually in the Save-on-Foods eating area by the interior mall entrance)!  It’s clear that Holly is well-respected and recognized in the community, which follows her wherever she goes… 😊

With that introduction, let’s get into discussing her work at Save-on-Foods and her thoughts on NACL Employment Services!

When asked what Holly loves the most about her job, she said “The customers.  I see people, they are my friends, I get to know them, their names, and I am happy to see people.  There are people that I’ve made friends with – it’s really lovely.”


About her job itself (as a Cashier), Holly said “I have learned a lot (there are lots of codes to know)…I work hard.  I usually work three days a week – sometimes more, sometimes less – it depends.  I do like working at Save-on-Foods.  I have help if I need it – any of the staff will help me.  Mandy and Daryl (the new manager) are great, too.  People (staff) are friendly and helpful.”


About Save-on-Foods as an employer, Holly said “I love that they hire people with disabilities.  It gives people an opportunity to have a job.”

When asked about working with NACL Employment Services, she said it’s “EXCELLENT.  I love working with you guys…I love it.  When I needed a job, you’re helpful.  I used to work at Lowe’s, and when it was time for a new job, you helped too.  Both Fenella (Lotzer, Employment Specialist) and Debra (Buvyer, Employment Specialist) have helped me.  They are brilliant, and I am so glad to have them in my life.”

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She also went on to say, “I can ask for what I need, when I need it.  Deb really listens to me an awful lot, and that is very important to me.  I have some challenges with my body too, and it is good for me to work and get out of the house…and sometimes out of my comfort zone.  I know that I can do things – what I want with my money (I earn) – I love shopping!”


Holly then told us about some of the benefits/perks of working at Save-on-Foods…

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“I get awards if I do well at bagging, customer service, and things like that – I have gotten gift cards and chocolate, too.”   

That all sounds really cool! 


One thing we definitely need to point out is that Holly and Kristal are both such popular Cashiers at the Country Club Save-on-Foods that people will SPECIFICALLY try to go to their tills.  If THAT doesn’t speak to community support and inclusion, we don’t know what does! 


Closing off their chat Holly simply said, “Thank you to Save-on-Foods and to you (NACL Employment Services’ staff team).  I am grateful for all you do.”


Holly has Williams Syndrome, and would like people to know more about it.  For more information, please visit the Canadian Association for Williams Syndrome’s website at     


We were thankful that Mandy Wass, Assistant Store Manager at Country Club’s Save-on-Foods, was able to spare some time to speak with us while the store was in the middle of some significant renovations.  She noted that Holly and Kristal joining their team was this Save-on-Foods location’s first experience with NACL Employment Services, and they first heard of us when Holly and Kristal brought in resumes and an information package. 


When asked how they’ve specifically benefitted from hiring through NACL Employment Services, Mandy said “It just showcases inclusiveness – we have a policy that no matter who you are, we can all contribute.  We want everyone to succeed.” 


As for how NACL’s matching process of employees to employers has worked so far, Mandy said it’s been “Good so far – a few challenges we worked through.  We are known for being inclusive.”


We then asked Mandy what she/Save-on-Foods has learned from working with the NACL Employment Services process.  She replied, “Patience, and having reassurance for/with people.  We want to help everyone to succeed.  No matter who they are, everyone is different – and we are inclusive.”


About Holly specifically, Mandy wanted to reiterate what was mentioned above about customers wanting to go to Holly’s till – “People wait for Holly…she is friendly and engages.” 😊 


Stay tuned for answers to a few more questions from Mandy in Kristal’s Amazing Story, coming very soon!

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about save-on-foods...

Save-on-Foods has become a mainstay grocery provider in Western Canada for over 100 years, with 175 locations under four different banners.  Founded in 1915 as Overwaitea Food Group, their current motto of “Going the Extra Mile” extends into everything they do – right from their founder apparently selling 18 oz. of tea for the price of 16 oz. – leading to how their original name was derived (from “overweight tea”). 😊


They believe in “supporting local” with the services/produce/products they offer, plus caring for/giving back to the communities they’re in, along with diversity and sustainability through corporate social responsibility being key to their culture.


Check out their website and social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram links are included below) to learn more – and even better, consider buying your groceries (and/or the health/household items they carry) from their Country Club Centre location to support both Holly and Kristal, NACL Employment Services’ efforts to help secure jobs in our community, and of course to thank Save-on-Foods for not just having a diverse workforce philosophy – but actually proving it! 

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Save-on-Foods (Country Club Centre)

  • #80 – 3200 N. Island Highway, Nanaimo, BC  V9T 1W1

  • (250) 751-1414

  • Open Monday to Sunday, 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.


NACL thanks you for actively supporting inclusive employers in our community, like Save-on-Foods.   

WANT TO KNOW MORE ABOUT nacl employment services?

Would your business or the business of someone you know like to be part of the inclusive employment movement?  NACL Employment Services is always seeking employers to provide opportunities for our Job Seekers with diversabilities.  Please click here for a description of the service itself – or, please click the button below to connect with our Employment Services Manager, Barb Barry, to learn more.  We look forward to hearing from you! 

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