Craig Dickson, manager of Downtown Safeway for the last 15 years, is retiring after 41 years working for the company. He started with the company when he was almost 16-years-old, and he has worked around the Lower Mainland, the Cariboo and the Okanagan Valley. (Lisa VanderVelde/Morning Star)

Dickson proud of community

“When can you start, kid?”

Those five words started Craig Dickson’s 41-year career with Safeway.

Just shy of his 16th birthday Dickson was dragged into Safeway at Royal Oak and Kingsway in Burnaby by his mom, who was tired of listening to him complain about his job scooping ice cream. He met the manager, Don Davies, who hired him on the spot.

Dickson has been the manager of the downtown Safeway in Vernon for the last 15 years and when he retired June 30, he joined his wife Liz, who retired from Telus in March after 37 years.

“I plan on spending quality time fly-fishing the Thompson River, lowering my (golf) handicap, gardening, enjoying our two new golden retriever puppies and most importantly spending time with my family,” said Dickson.

He spent many years of his career working at 16 different Safeway stores throughout the Lower Mainland, with a stint in 100 Mile House, and was selected to be store supervisor when Safeway bought Woodward’s.

Dickson was then asked to take over as manager of Safeway in downtown Vernon.

After discussing it with his wife, who was able to transfer to a management position at Telus in Vernon, they made the move.

“From day one to now, Vernon has been a huge part of our lives,” said Dickson.

“Our daughter was in Grade 7 when we moved and now is a University of British Columbia Okanagan grad.”

During his 15 years in Vernon Dickson has made giving back to the community a priority for his store.

He could often be found manning a barbecue or draped in a pink feather boa, while raising funds for breast cancer research at the annual drive-thru breakfast, just one of the various fundraisers put on with the help of his supportive staff.

“Safeway has always instilled a sense of community and has been a business where we put the customer first,” he said.

“I’m proud of the community and the role we play in it. Over the years we have, with the fantastic support of our customers, raised more than $1.1 million for local and B.C. charities.”