History of the 49th

The 49th Parallel Grocery stores are owned and operated by Wayne and Harmina Richmond. The Richmond’s purchased the 49th Parallel Grocery store in Ladysmith in August of 1977. The store was approximately 40 years old and totaled 3,000 square feet. In 1989, a new store was constructed next door to the old store and the old one was taken down. The new store is 13,400 square feet and contains all new equipment. The Ladysmith 49th employs over 50 local people. In September 1997, a second store in Cedar, B.C. was opened. The Cedar store is a little larger than the Ladysmith store and was designed with the local community in mind. This store increased our total employee support to over 220 people.

In 2002, Wayne and Harmina took over operation of the 49th Parallel Grocery Store in Chemainus, which had been owned and operated by Ron and Nelly Neubauer. (Nelly is Harmina’s sister) since 1985. All three 49th stores are operated as a family business with all family members actively involved.

Wayne Richmond has an extensive background in the grocery industry. At the age of 16, he began his career as a stock clerk at the Duncan Super Valu. Before he graduated from high school, he was promoted to Produce Manager. Wayne worked for this company for nine years. In 1966, Wayne went to work for a grocery chain called Shop Easy, where he gained further managerial and operations experience. During his 7 years with this company, Wayne held the position of Produce Manager, Assistant Manager, Store Manager and Total Store Supervisor. As a Total Store Supervisor, he was responsible for six Lower Mainland stores and several Interior B.C. stores. In 1973, Wayne accepted a position with K & R Foods in Duncan, as a Produce Buyer and Merchandiser. In 1975, Harmina accepted a position as a General Stock Clerk with K & R as well. She was responsible for ordering, pricing, and stocking, imported foods, baby foods and spices.

In 1977, Wayne and Harmina formed the company Har-Way Holdings and purchased the 49th Parallel Grocery Ltd. in Ladysmith. They have not looked back since.