HUDSON BAY — The McDonald name is a familiar one in Hudson Bay. For 65 years the McDonald family served the community and operated the local grocery store. Now that era is coming to an end.
McDonald’s Family Foods was started by Edna McDonald in 1958. Her son Larry McDonald took over in 1972. Larry’s son Glynn McDonald then took over in 2001. Parkland Co-op is now in the process of acquiring the store.
It started as a convenience store – Hudson Bay locals would know as the ‘old’ Confectionary. They added on to that a couple of times before constructing a new building where the Take Ten restaurant is now.
Larry was a close friend of now mayor of Hudson Bay Betty Lou Palko. Palko said remembers Larry fondly, as she said many do.
Traces of Larry’s legacy can be found around Hudson Bay. The Town of Hudson Bay named a park after Larry. The Friends of Larry McDonald was incorporated in 2003. Palko said it has given out 30 scholarships worth $1,000 each to deserving Grade 12 students in his name. These funds are generated by his family and friends as well as the Friends Of Larry barbeque that the committee puts on each year. Palko said he also sat on the local school board as well.
“Seeing our community lose the McDonald connection will be disappointing,” Palko said. “Folks have no idea how much his son Glynn and Larry have donated quietly to groups.”
In 2000, the McDonalds purchased the old SAAN store. It took a year renovate it. McDonalds Family Foods reopened in that building in 2001.
Currently the McDonald family lives in Vermilion, Alta.
“It was with very mixed emotions that we made the decision to sell,” Glynn said. “We don’t have immediate plans for the future but we’re definitely not ready to retire.”
Glynn said he looks forward to working a regular 40-hour work week job closer to home.
There are currently 32 people working at McDonald’s Family Foods. Offers of employment have been given to all current staff by Parkland Co-op.
Glynn said he loved the day-to-day challenge of running a grocery store but especially enjoyed visiting and talking with customers new and old.
When asked about the challenges of running a grocery retail store he said he was always busy during the holiday season.
“Definitely looking forward to being home during the upcoming holiday season.”
When Parkland Co-op made an offer to buy the store, the family decided to look at it closely.
We’ve had conversations in the past about selling, but when we were approached this time, we decided to get more serious about it,” Glynn said.
Glynn said he felt fortunate that he was able to go to work every day for the past 25 years and always love what he did.
“To think: I started out bagging ice, bagging potatoes and sorting glass Pepsi and Coke bottles with my Dad and Grandma, to going full circle and then making the ultimate decision to sell. As I’ve said before, that decision did not come lightly or without many mixed emotions. We would like to thank all of our customers, locally and from surrounding communities for their support over the past 65 years. We especially want to thank all of our current staff & all of the staff over the years that helped contribute to the success of what McDonald’s Family Foods has become, we appreciate each and every one of you.”