This fascinating story began with Cyril Glecoff, who emigrated to Canada in 1905. He and his wife raised 10 children in the City of Montreal. Great grandad, Cyril, spent much of his working life in the construction business until 1929 when he built the family grocery store in Oshawa, Ontario This was the beginning of the Glecoff retailing tradition. In 1936 his son Henry took over the family store. Henry had a strong work ethic and had some good business skills and they combined to make this independent grocery store a success.
Henry’s family, including young Andy, lived behind the store for more than a decade. Life for a youngster was a bit complicated what with trucks coming and going but, as Andy will tell you, that’s just the way it was. It was after a number of years in business that Henry decided to join the IGA chain of independents.
Shortly after kindergarten, young Andy Glecoff learned the value of work, and was put to work stacking cans, at the princely wage of 15 cents an hour. At 12, Andy was delivering groceries by bicycle and, at times, it was quite a feat for a young lad to delivering 50 lb. boxes of groceries.
Moving forward a few years. In 1965, Andy was convinced by a Zeller’s manager to leave GM and join their organization. It was a big leap of faith, leaving GM for a salary that was just 20% of what he was earning in the factory. Thankfully, Andy’s wife Sandra was working at the time.
In the sixties, the Glecoff family began their cross Canada tour with Andy working in stores in Oshawa, Midland, Montreal, Kingston Calgary, Victoria B.C., Thunder Bay and London Ontario.
In 1994, Andy, as Regional Vice President for the Eastern half of Ontario and Manitoba, discovered that the store in Haliburton might be for sale. On visiting Haliburton, the area quickly became a love affair for Andy and his wife Sandra. In October 1995, with their three youngest children in tow, the deal was finalized.
Clay, one of Andy’s sons, came into the business on the very first day. There were long days and late nights for Andy and Clay as they managed the business and made changes to the store. Clay met his future wife, Amy, in Northbrook Ontario, during a summer he worked for his Uncle Bob in his IGA store. After Amy arrived in Haliburton and soon after joined the store, she demonstrated astute buying skills and she was quickly seen as a great asset to Haliburton V&S. In this day and age, without a keen mind for purchasing, an independent store doesn’t have much of a chance of success.
The store flourished and became ever more popular with local residents and seasonal visitors. This financial success enabled the store to make significant contributions to the building of the Northern Lights Pavilion and to the new campus of Sir Sanford Fleming, now known as the Haliburton School of Art and Design. Sharing with the community is important to the Glecoff family as a whole.
Following the nasty economic time during 2008, Clay and Amy’s influence increased and it became obvious that Clay would lead the store into the future. Andy pulled back from the buying shows, allowing the new generation of Glecoff’s to make the decisions and lead the store forward. Clay and Amy work closely with their staff to make decisions for every department regarding the merchandise that they believe will deliver on customer needs.
Over the years, many things have changed. Here in 2021, there is no longer a buying group called V&S, the old brand, which served its purpose, has qualities that do not reflect the Haliburton Store today, and for manufacturers and their agents V&S was seen as a “low price only.”
What has not changed is the leadership of the Glecoff family in retailing, and in this new age of “selection, quality, price, service” the time is right for the store to reflect and celebrate the truth of the brand.
Welcome to the new age of Glecoff’s Family Store.