SUNDRE — Originally born and raised in the community, the manager of the new Freson Bros. grocery store — which earlier this month replaced the former IGA — did not hesitate to jump at the opportunity to return to his roots.
“It feels great to be home,” Cam Bowman said on Friday, June 11 during an interview.
Bowman told The Albertan he received an unexpected phone call late in April and was pleasantly surprised to be offered the position.
But before accepting the job, which presented a life-changing relocation from Drumheller where Bowman was working for Freson Bros. at the time, he conferred with wife Corina, who was enthusiastically supportive.
“I phoned my wife immediately after (the job offer), and she was excited,” he said.
Less than two months later, Bowman had stepped into his role as the only local grocery store’s manager.
“It’s been a quick journey to get here,” he said.
Long-time IGA shoppers will notice some differently labelled products including provincially-sourced goods on the shelves, but the store will otherwise remain largely familiar.
“We’re just going to roll out our Freson Brothers brand,” he said. “We’ve got only Alberta meats in our stores (and) we cook only with Alberta meats.
"We’re very proud of our sour dough bread that’s baked with all-Alberta flour.”
Having graduated from Sundre High School in 1994, Bowman then pursued the post secondary meat cutting course offered at Olds College.
That opened the door to his first opportunity to work as a sausage maker for a couple of years at a place in Airdrie called The Butcher Shoppe.
“Then I moved to Drumheller, and that’s when I started working for Freson Bros.,” he said.
Asked what he most enjoys about his line of work, Bowman said, “Connecting with the people.”
He and Corina have two daughters, aged 21 and 23, one who is in post secondary while the other resides in Hinton.
Bowman looks forward to keeping alive the store’s legacy of community involvement.
“My family grew up shopping here in this store,” he said. “I know it’s always been a big part of the community – it’s exciting to continue that tradition. And as well, I’m very proud to bring the Freson Bros. brand to my home community.”
The former IGA was always a staple presence during the annual Sundre Pro Rodeo — this year tentatively scheduled to happen Aug. 6-8 barring further restrictions — serving up many hundreds of pancakes and sausages for breakfast prior to the parade.
That is not expected to change under the new management, he said.
“We’re going to continue on (with the pancake breakfast tradition). We will be a big part of the community, just like IGA always has been," he said.