The I.G.A. has gone through several name changes over the decades, including Tommy’s Market, Lucky Dollar, Link’s Hardware and IGA, and the Fort Supply Company. The Fort Supply Co. was the official name in 1975 when the Lee family became the new (and present) owners.
For the Lee family it was a long road, or rather, it was a long ocean to travel before finally finding their home in this community. Like their father who had made his way to Fiji from China during the 1940’s, to find a better home and better life to make for his wife and future children; so would Johnny, the oldest son, make his way from Fiji to Canada to find a better home and better life for his brothers, sister and mother.
By 1972 the remaining family members had managed to immigrate to Canada and after a few years and various jobs, they found a place for the family to start a business, to thrive and to grow. Although the family business has expanded to encompass the Walnut Grove and Langley City IGA Market Place franchises; Peter, Robert, Margaret, Chang, Lum, Linda, Judy and Charlie and all the familiar faces (and new ones, too!) we have seen for years working at the IGA in Fort Langley are a welcoming place in the community. Charlie has since gone to Walnut Grove. His father, Johnny is still fondly remembered as the happy-go-lucky P.R. guy of the Lee family.
A big thanks to all of you at the IGA for 35 years of sharing the wonderful experiences of being a part of this village community.
(Excerpts from an article written by Eniko Ocsko for the Fort Langley Villager 2010 published by Jerry Rivard, Graphics Garage)
Tom Vickery, who was a previous owner of the IGA when it was known as Tommy’s Market, is fondly remembered by Robert for all the help he provided the Lee family while they learned the ropes of their new business. The owner they had actually purchased the business from had promised to do so but did not.
When the store well stopped working, it was Tom who swiftly came to their aid to rectify the problem. The functioning of the well was extremely important to the business as refrigeration was dependent upon it.
From 1960 to the 1980’s freezer lockers were leased at the store. Deep freeze appliances were not a common place item in homes around the village, so they leased space in “freezer plants” as they were called. The freezer plant unit comprised of rows of lockers constructed of 1″x2″ boards and chicken wire with a latch for a lock provided by the user.
By 1981, much to Robert’s joy, the store replaced this antiquated unit with more modernized freezing units.