Sobeys: Century of Expansion

1862: William Sobey, a British engineer stationed in Halifax, Nova Scotia, marries Janet Mac-Intosh. 1876: The Sobey clan, including 7-year-old son John William Sobey, settles on a farm in northern Nova Scotia. 1905: J.W. Sobey, wife Eliza and young son Frank settle in Stellarton, Nova Scotia. 1907: J.W. launches a meat-delivery company, marking the birth of Sobeys food retailing. 1924: Frank Sobey

1862: William Sobey, a British engineer stationed in Halifax, Nova Scotia, marries Janet MacIntosh.

1876: The Sobey clan, including 7-year-old son John William “J.W.” Sobey, settles on a farm in northern Nova Scotia.

1905: J.W. Sobey, wife Eliza and young son Frank settle in Stellarton, Nova Scotia.

1907: J.W. launches a meat-delivery company, marking the birth of Sobeys food retailing.

1924: Frank Sobey convinces his father to expand into a full-line grocery retailer.

1939: Sobeys chain reaches five stores.

1949: Sobeys opens its first self-serve supermarket in Truro, Nova Scotia.

1960s: Sobeys expands to the Gaspe region of Quebec.

1971: Frank Sobey's three sons, Bill, David and Donald, assume executive roles with the company.

1987: Frank Sobey dies and Sobeys surpasses $1 billion in annual sales for the first time.

1992: Sobeys debuts in Ontario with a new store in Guelph.

1995: Sobeys introduces “Our Best” private label (now known as Compliments).

1998: In a deal valued at nearly $1 billion, Sobeys acquires Toronto's Oshawa Group, quadrupling in size and gaining a nationwide presence for the first time. Included in the deal are innovative Garden Market IGA stores, which become the basis for fresh prototypes Sobeys will seed throughout its store network. Deal funded by public offering, with Empire Co. retaining a stake of around 60%.

1999: Sobeys sells its 26% stake in Hannaford Bros.

2000: Sobeys annual sales reach around $7.5 billion (U.S.).

2002: Sobeys sells its Serca food-service operation as it develops a focus on retail stores.

2004: Sobeys acquires Commisso's, a 15-store retailer in the Niagara region of Ontario.

2007: As Sobeys celebrates its 100th anniversary, Empire Co. announces a deal to buy back the 28% of the company it does not own and take Sobeys private again. Estimated sales of around $12.5 billion (U.S.).