AMHERST – After Saturday, it will be real.
The clock is winding down towards the last shift at Foodland in Amherst’s downtown. Parent company Empire, just a few short days ago, announced the only closure in the province is here in Amherst, following a nationwide performance review. In total 50 stores, mostly in western Canada, are being closed but support for the employees losing their job took shape Thursday afternoon.
“Shock is bad for people,” Veronica Richards with Empowering Beyond Barriers said. “Ten-days notice is hard on people. If they had a month they can plan for it, but ten days is hard.”
Instead of leading the charge to gather placards and chant slogans to express their disappointment, however, Empowering Beyond Barriers took a different road. Richards and Colleen Dowe brought an oversized thank-you card for customers and the public to sign for the employees, reminding them they are appreciated as the sting of job loss starts to become a reality.
“I just think it’s sad and not good for the downtown,” Dowe said.
Empowering Beyond Barriers advocates for low-income families, individuals and seniors. The loss of the downtown grocer will present new challenges for those living on fixed incomes, without vehicles or have mobility issues, Richards said, especially seniors.
“I think they are going to be impacted seriously. If they walk, there’s Lawtons or Highland Smartcart. But, think about it; in heat like today how much walking would you want to do, and how many bags would you be willing to carry.”
Come winter, Richards said, the walk becomes just as troublesome for those assisted with walkers or strollers. Smartcart is just shy of 2 km away from the Foodland, at 1.8 km away.
Richards says people impacted by the decision should contact Sobeys headquarters in Stellarton.