Southeast Winnipeg is set to lose two landmark Safeway stores.
The news comes after Sobey’s Inc., which is owned by Empire. Co. Ltd., was ordered by the Competition Bureau — an independent agency with a mandate to ensure Canadian businesses and consumers thrive in a competitive marketplace — to sell 23 stores in Western Canada as part of its purchase of Safeway Canada.
In June, it was announced that Sobeys will buy more than 200 Safeway stores for $5.8 billion.
In Winnipeg, stores in St. Vital (850 Dakota St.); Southdale (77 Vermillion Rd.); the North End (1441 Main St.); Grant Park (1120 Grant Ave.) and Price Chopper (677 Stafford St.) are slated for closure and these locations must be sold to viable grocers who aim to keep them open.
River Park South resident Stacey Denby said she shops at Sobeys more than Safeway, but likes taking advantage of the benefits of her local Safeway.
"These benefits include Air Miles and they always have a great selection of fresh fruit, vegetables and organic foods," said Denby, 42, an educational assistant. Since the news of the takeover was announced, it has been reported that Sobeys will honour the Air Miles reward program.
Denby said she doesn’t think the buyout will drastically shift the goalposts.
"Safeway is much nicer, as far as décor, and I do love their deli and quick lunch options. I worked at a school a couple of years ago and instead of going to Subway for my sandwich, I would go to Safeway and get a freshly-made one there. Plus, they also have a Starbucks.
"But in general, I’m thinking there won’t be too much of a change. In our area, we have Extra Foods, Sobeys, Safeway, Walmart and a little further we have Dakota Family Foods and another Sobeys, so I’m not sure it will make much of a difference," Denby said.
Windsor Park resident Lisa Harrison, who shops at the Southdale Safeway from time to time, doesn’t believe the move will have a significant impact on her shopping experience.
"I tend to shop based on what I need and where I am," said Harrison, 36. "There’s a Superstore within a five-minute drive from me, as well as a Safeway on Fermor and St. Anne’s, so I don’t know if this will drastically affect me."