Sobeys closing Amherst Foodland

Christopher Gooding
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26 to lose jobs July 5

AMHERST – Dozens of underperforming grocery stores across Canada are being closed by parent-company Sobeys and here in Nova Scotia the only closure will be in Amherst.

Sobeys has announced it's closing its Amherst Foodland operation as of July 6. Twenty-six employees will be impacted by the closure of the downtown area's only full-service grocery store.

Sobeys Atlantic Manager of Communications Shauna Selig confirmed Thursday the twenty-six employees at the downtown Amherst Foodland were notified of the decision Wednesday evening that the store will be closing permanently on July 5, at 6 p.m.

“We reviewed the whole network of stores on a market-by-market basis and determined the Amherst location was underperforming,” Seliq said.

The Amherst closure will be the only location impact in the province, but four Foodland storefronts and one Sobeys in New Brunswick will also be closed for underperforming, Selig said. Those locations include Perth Andover, Tracadie and St. Stephen.

Sobeys parent company, Empire, released a press release Thursday confirming 50 underperforming stores across Canada will be closed to improve its net earnings, and more than half of those will take place in Western Canada.

The decision to cut the stores comes after the $5.8-billion acquisition of rival Safeway Canada.

Several shoppers that talked to said they were shocked by the news.

"It's a shame. It's a great store with great people working there," Jim Rhindress said. "I shop there quite often."

Another shopper, who wished to remain unidentified, said the closure is going to impact people living in the downtown. The person said there are a lot of people living in and around the downtown who don't have transportation and walk to the Foodland to buy their groceries.

"Some of us don't have a car. This means we'll have to take a cab out to the malls to get our groceries. That can get expensive," the person said.

Evange Landry said she'll miss the store, adding it's a sign of the direction Amherst is heading.

"Pretty soon Amherst is going to be a ghost town. There are so many things closing," she said. "Soon, there'll be nothing left. At least I'm happy they reopened Sears."

Amherst Deputy Mayor Lisa Emery said the decision by Sobeys will impact a lot of people, employees and residents alike.

“My initial reaction was disappointment such a large store was closing in downtown, but I know Sobeys has to make its own business decisions,” Emery said. “There is a lot of people who live in the downtown area. Where are they going to get their groceries?”

Emery says there are opportunities for some grocery shopping in the downtown, like Loblaw Pharmacy and the newly minted Manesseh Local Food, but many, especially those with limited mobility, benefited from having a downtown grocery store.

“We need to see if someone can step in,” Emery said.


Organizations: Sobeys, Shauna Selig, Safeway Canada

Geographic location: Amherst, Western Canada, New Brunswick Tracadie

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Recent comments

  • marieanley
    September 20, 2016 - 04:56

    Taylor is the latest of a series of special advisors to Clark, after former Encana CEO Gwyn Morgan and former Canfor and Finning executive Jim Shepard.

  • Bob
    June 27, 2014 - 03:41

    The Walmart nation is coming! If people insist on buying groceries from Walmart and Giant Tiger then soon Super Store and Sobeys will be closing. Will Walmart and GT hire more people? Walmart sucks the life out of a town, killing all the small local shops and leaving nothing but junk made in China. Support Sobeys and Super Store to keep them open- Walmart won't be hurting from losing grocery business.

    • TJR
      June 27, 2014 - 06:13

      Bob, do some research on Giant Tiger before you get all emotional. Local Giant Tiger managers can and frequently make deals with local suppliers, it is one of the things they do exceptionally well. They as a chain most certainly encourage the buying local option. More than Sobeys and Superstore do actually, where price point is the only criteria.

  • Vince Kennie
    June 27, 2014 - 03:29

    WOW, I love shopping at Foodland, sorry to see them close, oh well for us who have transportation it will not matter much, however, I feel bad for those who have to walk to get their food items, etc. Yes taxies are expensive but so is gasoline.

  • Jim G.
    June 27, 2014 - 01:08

    I wouldn't run down the store employees too much. They live in the town. It is up to management to keep a clean well stocked store. Sobeys has been in the grocery store business so they should know how to keep the stores well stocked. It would be nice to have a grocery store downtown. It might be an opportunity for a smaller grocery store chain to take over the space. Maybe the town could give a property tax holiday for the property for up to 5 years that would be clawed back when sales reach a certain level. Either the property owner or the town should seek out such a company as soon as possible.

    June 26, 2014 - 23:21

    Y did it closed - meat room worst cut meat in Amherst , never any eggs on shelf , cashiers are not friendly- most are ugly to deal with , prices are high , run out of specials often , out of date items on shelf ,, Sobeys has a dirty store front ends are always empty , you can tell the employees don't care about customer service, they will close next

  • lady Allen
    June 26, 2014 - 21:40

    Foodland/Pricechopper has always been one of my favorites & superstore , I have never liked Sobeys ; there brand name , there service & with exception of a few even there staff ! ; actually I mostly boycot Sobeys!! its a shame that the staff at foodland will now be unemployed , someone needs to step up .. cuz its true the downtown residents & also the ones as far as willow st ; the option of shopping close by will no longer be & I for one do not like that decision !!

  • Cindy
    June 26, 2014 - 17:20

    This is so sad, Foodland was the only grocery store downtown for the seniors and surrounding areas. Can`t buy what you need at the Manesseh Store and Loblaws. That is still aways for some of the seniors to walk. Even for them to go up those hills off of the marsh. Very disappointing to this town.

  • BS
    June 26, 2014 - 16:33

    too bad for the employees and the people who count on the good service and convenient location. Nothing against the employees at Sobeys but I would recommend for anyone who shops at Foodland to take their business to super store or support local where possible. Not support Sobeys's. This closure will definitely have a negative impact on the downtown, its too bad.

  • Sign of the times
    June 26, 2014 - 14:38

    So glad my family moved away. People don't see that the town is hemorrhaging. Look at the loss over the last 5 years. Its a ghost town pretty soon. Especially with the terrible leadership of the current council

  • joan allen
    June 26, 2014 - 14:34

    I think it is very very very dumb to close the store. I want it to stay open .

  • SobeysUncaring
    June 26, 2014 - 13:59

    Shameful, a lot of people shop there because they like the atmosphere and some people need to. A lot of people don't have transportation and will be forced to pay for a round-trip for a cab. Hope your happy Mr. Manager of Sobeys as this makes like a lot more difficult for the average Joe.

  • TJR
    June 26, 2014 - 12:58

    I live on Victoria East, have always shopped at Foodland since I moved here, but due to this, I will support Highland Market and Manasseh for my perishables. I looked at and found out I can buy all my bulk toiletries, pet items, litter, and canned food CHEAPER than Foodland ever has been, and get FREE DELIVERY. I will avoid Sobey's stores (Needs, Lawtons and Sobeys as much as possible) I don't drive and don't want to spend an additional $14 on cabs to the mall and back tacked on to my groceries. Local is great, supplemened with an online option. Otherwise I would have to leave this part of town.

  • Erika Lutz-Stokes
    June 26, 2014 - 12:46

    Disappointing. It was the only large grocery downtown, so this decision is going to effect a lot of people. Further proof that an hourly bus circumnavigating the town with several stops downtown and at the retail hub is very much needed. I'm all for supporting local businesses and do it when I can, but the fact remains that many people can't afford artisan prices, and those that can tend to have cars. Then there's those of us on limited budgets, and $12 roundtrip for a taxi can be half our food budget for the week.

  • wingman
    June 26, 2014 - 11:49

    It's all about PROFIT to he((&%$$ with people.

  • Chris Morash
    June 26, 2014 - 11:42

    Support locally owned stores instead like Manessah, Snow White, Farmers Market etc. Then the money will stay in Amherst area. I feel awful for the employees though...real good people

  • Teresa Bass
    June 26, 2014 - 11:27

    I amm heartsick for the employees of this store. I worked there for four years and considered many of them my friends. Sad that to buy another company, they jeopardise the finacial lives of many people. I thought they were a family oriented company.

    • Jim G.
      June 26, 2014 - 12:05

      The reason they are closing is Sobeys is a publicly traded company on the stock exchanged and is owned by many municipal union pension funds as well as government pension funds that teachers and nurses and others belong to not to mention RRSPs of individuals through mutual funds. If you know any people that belong to theses institutions or have mutal funds in or outside of their RRSPs than you can point the finger at these people. More profit means higher stock prices .

  • Patti Haylock
    June 26, 2014 - 11:14

    How very sad to hear this news...More unemployed people and another empty building downtown. Not to mention the extra expense for those living downtown with no means of transportation except a taxi.. Sobeys should have left the store alone as it seems Price Chopper was always busy but since the "renovation" and the creation of Foodland the prices are higher and the patrons are fewer and therefore profits are down. A sad day for many!....

  • Cee
    June 26, 2014 - 10:12

    Oh great. Here comes another crybaby corporation to shut down the little franchisee. Absolutely pitiful. How do they expect people to get jobs in this town if everything opens, and closes. Its a never ending cycle. Now i can bet something stupid will be put where foodland is.