This month Barry’s Bay Metro has been open for twenty-five years. Partners Gerard O’Malley (left above) and Connie and Neil O’Reilly built the 8000 square foot store in 1994. They and store staff invite Valley residents to help them celebrate their twenty-fifth year in business with memories, food, fun and a week -long competition for valuable prizes in the Anniversary Draw on June 27. Fifteen lucky shoppers will win $100 Metro gift cards and one Metro customer will win $1,000 to shop with.
Metro provided a souvlaki lunch on-site on June 20
Neil O’Reilly said of the passing years, “We’re happy that our business is growing but [have] as much satisfaction when the whole community is growing. We think it’s a great place. It’s our home, but it’s more than that. For our staff, for them to have committed to us and us to them, that just shows that there’s some longevity when people stick around. I think we’ve got seven or eight original employees still employed. That’s pretty neat.” Of the work force he said, “We have about seventy-five and in the summertime we have about eighty-five staff. We’re thrilled to have a great summer business but we know businesses don’t survive in this area without the twelve-months-a-year customers. They’re the ones that help build it and the tourism is the bonus.”
“Five hundred students have gone through in employment. We’ve partnered with the co-op programs at the high school and the programs through Access Work Services and Madawaska Valley Association for Community Living. Sometimes somebody just needs four weeks of work on a resume just to have something positive happen to them, and we try to help out when we can. And we have a couple of long term employees [from those programs]. What they offer on top of their work are their smiles, their engagement, and a purpose, so we’re happy to be a part of that too.”
O’Reilly said as a franchisee they were fortunate that the Metro relationship has been at arms length. He added that they have the flexibility to support local independent suppliers. “Metro has really trended more in that direction corporately, even in their more city areas to support a local producer, local grower. ”
Metro staff assembled a display commemorating 25 years (left); anniversary banner
As for his business partners, O’Reilly said, “No better arrangement than my wife Connie and a partner like Gerard, and then being partners in the community. That’s what has brought us success. So we’re happy to have all that working well.”
O’Malley talked about what the twenty-five years have meant to him. “To be able to stay in your community where you grew up and have a successful business, that’s truly amazing. The support from the local people [means] you feel very much a part of the community and I think that’s the feeling — to belong. We’ve got to know so many people who were here for all their lives and all the new people that come in. You get to meet them, welcome them, and make them feel a part of the community too.”