The Big Move

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The Big Move

Boston born and bred, Ed Collupy, vice president of information services (IS) at The Pantry Inc., never thought he would end up living anywhere else. In fact, he never thought he would move off of the block he grew up on, considering he spent his first 40 years in five different houses there.

"I was born and lived in one house, and then we moved up the street," he explained. "Then we moved around the corner, and again up the block, and then when I got married we moved next door."

But when opportunity came knocking in 1996, he decided to answer and move himself and his family to North Carolina to lead the IS department at The Pantry in Sanford.

"It was an opportunity in terms of professional growth, but it was a huge move," he said. "My kids were teenagers, and we were moving them during their formative years." Collupy has two daughters, now 27 and 23 years old.

Looking back, this wasn't the first time he took advantage of an opportunity. Collupy became interested in the retail industry while working
as a part-time cashier at Boston supermarket chain Purity Supreme during college, and after graduating from Suffolk University in Boston with a bachelor's degree in Government, he asked his manager and district manager if there were any full-time job openings at the chain.

"They needed a store systems specialist to help the company implement the store level and back office scanning program and were looking for an internal candidate, so I jumped into it," he explained. "I started there in 1974, and was there for 23 years."

Collupy said it was the challenge of something new that attracted him to technology in the beginning, and he saw "it was clearly the way the world was moving, with both the business world as well as people's personal use of technology becoming more evident."

After working at Shaw's Supermarkets for less than a year, he joined The Pantry as director of information systems with an IT department made up of about 10 employees -- a far cry from the now nearly 60.

At the time, a management investment firm that had also owned Purity Supreme supermarkets acquired The Pantry, and some of the management team at Purity started there as part of the buyout. They invited Collupy to join the team in 1996, when the company had 380 stores total.