Author: Christina Doll
The signage for Jolley Market Foods reads ‘a convenience store with so much more’, and it lived up to its slogan when COVID-19 was declared a pandemic in March 2020. In addition to being the place where people can get their weekly groceries, grab a quick lunch or snack, borrow a book, or have a chat with a familiar staff member, since the pandemic started, it has been a safe haven for those who are uncomfortable shopping at larger grocery stores.
According to Owner/Operator Marie Halverson, “COVID was great for business for the Jolley Market because when it first started, everybody was support local, support local, support local, and the whole community came out to support us. And a lot of people didn’t want to go to the bigger stores at that time, so they would come here because we’ve got a little bit of everything.”
Jolley Market Foods has a smaller selection, but carries everything you can find in a bigger store, including dry, canned, frozen, and fresh food. However, it is best known for its deli counter, fresh baking, ready-to-bake pizzas, cakes, and fruit pies. They also support local as much as possible and carry food and other items form local producers like North Roast Coffee and Mountain Air Kettle Corn.
Even though the community has been very supportive of the local grocery store, they have had to make changes to their service delivery model like many other businesses. People used to be able to access self-service food, but it is now pre-packaged and they have extended their front counter and amped up the amount of cleaning done in a day.
These extra measures have added to the feeling of safety for some. Halverson says, “We have a lot of elderly people who shop here. We have one lady, she just had her 100th birthday a couple of weeks ago, and her daughter brings her here once a week to shop here because she doesn’t want to go anywhere else [due to COVID].”
Changes may have been made at the Jolley Market due to the pandemic, but the atmosphere and the service remain the same. Halverson says, “We have a lot of regular customers so it’s a homey feeling when you walk in the Jolley Market. We are kind of famous for that too. Not to brag or anything, but we’re a lot of fun and we do harass a lot of our regular customers and that’s why they come here.”
There is currently road construction at the main entrance to the Jolley Market off Highway 16 West. While the construction is underway, the Jolley Market is accessible via the Bon Voyage Market turn-off. To reach the grocery store, follow the signage all the way to the Jolley Market or keep going straight down the gravel road instead of turning left through the neighbourhood as directed by the signage.
About the author: Christina worked first as a radio journalist and then a public relations specialist in her hometown of Prince George for almost a decade before transitioning into her current role of Workforce Development Officer in the Economic Development Division at the City of Prince George. She has public and private sector experience in economic development, external and internal communications, marketing, social media and website management, event planning, and research. She has a passion for storytelling and for providing support to local businesses to help them grow and thrive.