Three Guardian Pharmacies and Island Foodland

Robertson’s IDA in Gore Bay will also change hands

MANITOULIN—From relatively small beginnings, the Bondi family of Mindemoya grew their pharmacy and grocery business into property holdings that included a strip mall, the building housing a branch of the Northern Credit Union in Mindemoya, three pharmacies and one of the most profitable gems in the Sobeys chain of grocery stores. Now they are stepping back from the business world and settling into a somewhat less hectic pace of life, as will Carol Robertson, now former owner (and as yet still pharmacist) of Robertson’s IDA in Gore Bay.

“Having been presented with the opportunity to retire from the retail pharmacy and grocery businesses, we wish to announce that all of our retail businesses have been sold,” reads a press release from the family. A family spokesperson declined to add to the information included in the release.

But the release, issued on behalf of the Bondi-Hart families, focusses on how the family feels about its customers, its business associates and its loyal and dedicated employees.

“Although these businesses will now be in new hands,” reads the release, signed by Steven Bondi, operator of the Little Current Guardian Pharmacy, “we have made every effort to ensure that they will remain rooted in our communities. The local people you know and trust will still be employed there and serving you—they will still be doing their best to meet your local needs and desires.”

When it comes to their customers, the Bondi-Hart families were grateful and issued a plea that they continue to support their successors. “We sincerely wish to thank all of the people of Manitoulin who have patronized and supported our efforts over the past 30 years and we ask that you continue to support these businesses under the new and community minded owners, whom, we believe, will continue in the traditions that our family began.”

As to their employees, the families reserved their most effusive praise.

“We also wish to sincerely, and fondly, thank all of our many employees who have been a significant factor in any success that we have had. It has been a pleasure to work alongside these people sharing our lives day after day over these many years. Their friendship, loyalty and dedication to their jobs and our customers is a testament to the quality of all those people who call Manitoulin home. We can assure you that you will continue to see our present employees going about their regular business in the stores with staff like Chris, Sally, Heidi, Michelle, Ashley, Linda, Nancy, Carol and Mona leading the way.”

When it comes to the future, however, don’t think the family of pharmacists plans to immediately fade completely from view.

“Although retirement is around the corner,” notes the release, “Michael, Steven and Michelle will continue to work in the stores regularly to help ensure a smooth, seamless transition.”

As for Ms. Robertson, she said that she did not think that it was the same group that purchased her pharmacy, at least she did not recognize the contact name given for the Bondi-Hart purchase. “That’s not the name on the papers I signed,” she laughed coyly. “The new owners don’t want to make an official announcement until they have everything in place,” she added. “I will be working here through until June while they get things completely settled as to how things will go forward.”

Ms. Robertson admitted the sale of her pharmacy was a bittersweet moment. “I thought long and hard about it,” she said. “It was a big decision. This has been like my first baby, I started it from scratch, nurtured it and watched it grow. I consider it as almost one of my children.” Now, her experience is something akin to watching her child go off to college.

But the Robertsons have no intention of moving. “I am not sure what is in store for the future,” said Ms. Robertson, “but this is our home. We have no intention of moving anywhere else.”

The Bondi-Hart pharmacies have been purchased by a group that owns a large number of pharmacies and sources close to the sale have described the new owners as highly qualified and representing the “new wave” of pharmacists with outstanding capabilities.

The group which purchased the Robertson IDA also own a number of pharmacies across the province.

The Expositor has reached out to the new owners to introduce them to the community they will now be serving.