A popular North End greenhouse is petitioning for support to stay in the community.
Richard Gyselinck, who runs Riverside Greenhouse in the Safeway parking lot at McPhillips Street and Jefferson Avenue, says he’s collected more than 1,000 signatures so far to help present his case as Sobeys prepares to assume the Safeway banner in a $6 billion takeover deal.
"I’m crossing my ‘T’ and dotting my ‘I,’ " Gyselinck said last week.
"We have to gauge the support of the community to show we’re liked and welcomed here."
Gyselinck’s family has operated the greenhouse, headquartered in St. Vital, for three generations. It’s also operated the summer satellite location, which runs from May 1 to August 1 on McPhillips, since 1984.
The takeover deal still needs regulatory approval from the Competition Bureau. Once approved, Gyselinck wants to use the petition to show Sobeys it’s worth the while to keep the business relationship intact.
"Not only do I want to be here, the people want us to be here," he said.
The location is critical to the company’s success, Gyselinck added, and Safeway has been gracious enough to allow him to spend the extra time and money setting up three small greenhouses on-site, to grow and stock flowers and vegetables that he says are grown accordingly to the cultural diversity in the north end of the city.
"We know what to do here, he said.
"We’ve built up quite a following.
"There’s no real greenhouse in the North End compared to St. Vital, where there’s five of us," he said.
According to reports, Sobeys will be taking over 213 full-service Safeway stores in Western Canada as part of the deal.
A Sobeys spokesperson could not be immediately reached for comment.
Maples resident Valerie Allan said she’s been shopping at the greenhouse for close to 20 years after she moved into the community.
"As soon as spring comes, I come first thing and then at the end before they close," she said.