Customers such as Ramen Toor are wondering how the temporary closure and rebranding of the Aldergrove Safeway store will affect them. (Miranda Fatur/Black Press)

UPDATED: Aldergrove ‘shocked’ by impending Safeway closure

An Aldergrove grocery store closes in May and re-open as Freshco discount grocer later this year

After almost 40 years of operation, the Aldergrove Safeway store will close near the end of May – then re-open four months later as a FreshCo store.

Last week, the store manager of the grocery retail chain gathered all in-house employees to the front of the store.

“They told us all… right with customers walking by,” Teresa Kolarcik, an employee of Safeway for 27 years, said.

“I’m still shocked.”

Kolarcik began working at Safeway when she was just 17 years old.

Since then, she’s taken joy in serving her “regulars,” and watching their children grow up throughout the years.

“I’ve had the same customers for the past 27 years, all at the same store,” said Kolarcik.

The announcement comes with a set of other closures and termination notices for Lower Mainland’s Safeway employees.

In addition to the store located at the corner of Fraser Highway and 276th Street, four other retail outlets will be shutting their doors.

It translates to 609 job losses in total, covering five store locations: Aldergrove, Chilliwack, Maple Ridge, Delta and Abbotsford.

“It’s heartbreaking… I truly enjoyed my job and I’ve worked hard to get where I am,” said Kolarcik.

She says she has no idea what she will do now.

A total of 123 employees at the Aldergrove store will lose their jobs.

The official closing date is set for May 25.

A few customers are fearful of the change, and what the short-term closure might mean for the community – especially neighbouring seniors.

Ramen Toor lives a few blocks away and said the store has proven convenient for him.

“We live right by here, we’ve been here for six years and it’s the closest store. I’m okay because I have a car, but I think about the old people living [near]by who come with their buggies. What are they going to do” during the transition?

Brandon Ogrady also lives nearby in Aldergrove, but doesn’t shop at Safeway frequently.

He was surprised to learn of the impending changes.

“That’s crazy. I’m quite surprised because that means the only other store is Save-On-Foods,” Ogrady said.

I’m surprised I didn’t hear anything,” he added.

Trudy Campen has lived in Aldergrove since 1982, and said she’s “gotten used to Safeway being here, and certain brands,” the store offers.

“I’ll certainly miss those [brands],” she said.

Campen will also miss the “convenience” of the store when it temporarily closes, as she lives nearby.

All three agree they’ll give the new FreshCo a try, but none of them are familiar with the chain.

“It’s nature of business today. We have to get used to changes,” Campen said.

The five Safeway locations will be renovated and re-opened as FreshCo stores.

FreshCo is an Ontario-based division of Sobeys Inc., with the majority of its locations in Eastern Canada.

According to Sobeys, the notice is in accordance with the Employee Standards Act.

Long-term Safeway employees are eligible for buyouts, and those with seniority in the union may be able to bump employees out of jobs at other locations in B.C.

“We are working with employees and unions to ensure the terms of their collective agreements are met as we work through this transition,” the company press release stated.

“As always, we will expend every effort to place employees in other stores within our store network in B.C.”

The company says pharmacy customers will continue to be served during construction – via temporary locations.

And, when the store reopens “our customers can expect the same great service from our pharmacy teams.”

According to a Sobeys press release issued Jan. 29: “Our FreshCo stores reflect our customers’ growing demand for fresh, quality food at discount prices. FreshCo stores will feature a bold brand and clear tagline: ‘Lowering food prices.’”

Sobeys acquired the Canadian division of Safeway, along with other retail brands including Thrifty Foods and IGA, in 2013 in a $5.8-billion deal.

In December 2017, Sobeys announced it would convert 25 per cent of Safeways in Western Canada.

 

Customers such as Ramen Toor are wondering how the temporary closure and rebranding of the Aldergrove Safeway store will affect them. (Miranda Fatur/Black Press)

KURT LANGMANN PHOTO: After 40 years the popular Safeway store is closing in May and be renovated to re-open as a FreshCo discount grocery store.

Just Posted

Langley youth: school district hosts interagency forum to help kids

Key issues included substance use, disconnected youth, social media, and creating an ethic of care

PHOTOS: Langley councillor provides inside look of Aldergrove’s Alder Inn

Bedbugs and other marks of disrepair lead Eric Woodward to argue against its preservation

Dozen impaired drivers caught on first weekend of Langley RCMP CounterAttack

Police also rounded up speeders and unlicensed drivers

VIDEO: Giants fall 3-1 to Victoria in mid-week Island game

The major junior hockey team is back at home in Langley for a toy drive and Santa singalong Friday

VIDEO: Federal Liberals’ throne speech welcomes opposition’s ideas

Trudeau will need NDP or Bloc support to pass legislation and survive confidence votes

VIDEO: John Lennon’s iconic Rolls Royce rolls into Vancouver Island college for checkup

Royal BC Museum, Camosun College and Carriageworks Restorations come together to care for car

VIDEO: Rockslide closes part of Highway 93 in Fairmont Hot Springs

Geotechnical team called in to do an assessment after rocks fell from hoodoos

Chilliwack mom gives back to neonatal unit with Christmas stocking drive

Ashley Durance is paying it forward to other families and their babies following daughter’s NICU stay

Petition calls for appeal of ex-Burns Lake mayor’s sentence for sex assault

Prosecution service says Luke Strimbold’s case is under review

Northwest B.C. wildlife shelter rescues particularly tiny bear cub

Shelter co-founder says the cub weighs less than a third of what it should at this time of year

BC firefighters to help battle Australian bushfires

Canada sent 22 people, including 7 from B.C.

B.C. NDP touts the end of MSP premiums

Horgan, James held news conference to reiterate that people will get their last bill this month

Illicit drug deaths down, but B.C. coroner says thousands still overdose

Chief coroner Life Lapointe says province’s drug supply remains unpredictable

Most Read