Last year H.Y. Louie Group began transitioning out of its original line of business, food wholesaling, to focus on its retail operations. The company announced its 30 IGA stores, as well as independents on its customer list, would from now on be supplied by Overwaitea Food Group, part of the Jim Pattison (No. 10) empire. H.Y. Louie also sold three IGA locations in the Vancouver area to Overwaitea. Business in the wholesale operation was declining. According to a report in Canadian Grocer, another reason for the change was the success of the Fresh St. Market brand, which H.Y. Louie launched in 2013 and focuses on fresh produce not covered by the deal with Overwaitea.
The adjustments may also be evidence of a generational transition underway at the 113-year-old company. Brandt Louie remains president and CEO of the business founded by his grandfather, Hok Yat Louie, as well as chairman of its 78-store subsidiary, London Drugs. But his sons, Stuart and Greg, are making their presence felt. “The fourth generation is involved now, and they want to drive the group to bigger and better things,” Wynne Powell, London Air Services president (and longtime London Drugs boss), told the Vancouver Sun in 2015, by way of explaining plans to divest the seven-plane corporate charter airline. “They’d rather take that money and invest it in a different way.”
Updated Thursday, November 9, 2017