Norm Mathews named 2019 Strawberry Festival Parade Grand Marshal


Norm Mathews, founder of Vashon Island’s Thriftway Grocery Store and stalwart advocate of giving back to the community, has been named Grand Marshal of the 2019 Strawberry Festival Grand Parade. Matthews will have a place of honor over the Strawberry Festival weekend at the head of Grand Parade. Mathews will also be wearing the traditional Grand Marshal Sash created by Island artist Nancy Sipple.

As is tradition, he was nominated by community members for his service to the Island in both the professionally and charitably. He was selected by the Board of the Vashon-Maury Island Chamber of Commerce and sponsor of the Grand Marshal Award Shawn Hoffman from Vashon Island Market IGA.

The nomination comes as Mathews as Thriftway enters it’s 54th year serving Vashon residents. He has worked in the grocery business for many years before that for both Associated Grocers and Tradewell stores before opening Thriftway.  He has 4 living children, 7 grandchildren, and 6 great-grandchildren.

Through out his years on Vashon, Mathews has made a huge difference in the lives of many people. Not only as an employer of hundreds of islanders but as a business leader who is passionate about giving back to the community. His grandson Clay Cleb points out “He’s always been very passionate about giving back to the Island, especially to causes that directly benefit kids. Youth sports, Vashon Youth & Family Services, Vashon Schools Foundation, and the Vashon Scholarship Foundation in particular.  He’s also always been a big supporter of the Vashon Food Bank, Vashon Center for the Arts, and Vashon Community Care”

Board President Cheryl Lubbert said “Norm is an example of how important locally owned and operated businesses are to building a strong community like Vashon. He clearly cares about the people on the Island and it shows in everything he does.”

In her nomination letter CC Stone wrote “I admire how he conducts his business, how he treats and trains his employees, how he responds to his customers – a fickle and cranky bunch, let’s face it – by indulging their every whim and not judging any of us for our crazy cravings. The grocery business is a tough business, and we are very fortunate to have 2 good operators here on Vashon.  They both serve us all, everyday. It’s the very definition of community service. They give their time and talent to make Vashon a good place to live. I think it is time we honor the impact Norm Matthews has had on our Island.”

Look for Norm Mathews at the head of the Strawberry Festival Parade on Saturday July 20th. He will be wearing the official Grand Marshal Sash and followed by the famous Thirftway Shopping Cart Drill Team.