Theft a near-constant reality at city store


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At Cantor’s Quality Meats and Groceries, theft is a near-constant reality, exacerbated by rising inflation and increasingly desperate people.

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At Cantor’s Quality Meats and Groceries, theft is a near-constant reality, exacerbated by rising inflation and increasingly desperate people.

“It’s usually day to day. There’s always something going on — there’s always something going out the door. If it’s not drinks, it’s chips, it’s meat or cheese,” said Ed Cantor, owner of the family-run business which has served fresh produce and meats to Winnipeg residents for more than eight decades.

Cantor, who has been at the helm of the grocer on 1445 Logan Ave. for 20 years, said theft is a reality most retailers know well. He’s seen the rate at which it occurs rise starkly in recent years.


Theft is a near-constant reality for retailers. It has been exacerbated by rising inflation and increasingly desperate people.

As a local business, his store feels the sting of every dollar that walks out the door, he said.

To combat the rising theft, he hired a private security firm sometime around 2017 — A decision he hoped would protect his staff and his bottom dollar. Despite security monitoring the store six days a week, it still falls victim to daily theft.

“It raises your bottom dollar value and your cost value… because somebody has to pay for every dollar that you’ve lost. It take longer to recoupe that over the year,” he said. “You get frustrated when somebody steals. Listen, we all have to pay for it, so what makes that individual more special than anybody else?”

Grocery prices were up 11 per cent year-over-year in October and Cantor expects them to continue to rise in the new year. The ever-increasing inflation is a driving force behind theft, and its affecting businesses of all kinds, he said.

“Crime is getting bad with everything. It’s not just groceries, it’s every little thing now,” Cantor said. “It’s getting hard for people to make money and live, so this is what they are doing. They are stealing because they need it… There’s no end to it. This is the world we are living in right now.”

Cantor is not alone in his concerns.

A recent Probe Research poll comissioned by the Free Press revealed 40 per cent of Manitobans expect to be financially worse off one year from now. The number decreased slightly to 38 per cent in Winnipeg, where, in the fall of 2021, just 18 per cent of people expected to be financially worse off in a year’s time.

According to the poll, those most likely to believe they will be worse off have lower levels of education; 45 per cent of people with a high school diploma or less schooling were concerned about their finances.

Only 16 per cent of respondents said they’ll be in a better financial position next December. Young adults aged 18-34 were most optimistic (28 per cent compared to seven per cent among those older than 55).

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