Food Fare locations draw Penn, police on Canada Day

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A Winnipeg grocery store chain that opened its doors for business on Canada Day despite provincial rules for statutory holidays says it had one surprise visitor — and one it has grown to expect.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 03/07/2019 (1180 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

A Winnipeg grocery store chain that opened its doors for business on Canada Day despite provincial rules for statutory holidays says it had one surprise visitor — and one it has grown to expect.

On Tuesday, Food Fare manager Ramsey Zeid said Hollywood actor/director Sean Penn, who is filming in Winnipeg, was seen shopping during the national holiday at the Maryland Street location.

The store opened at 11 a.m. Monday, and there were about 30 people waiting to come in, Zeid said.

THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP, Taylor Jewell/Invision Hollywood heavyweight Sean Penn is directing a film in Winnipeg this summer.

According to Zeid, Penn told staff he had struggled to find a grocery store that was open — unaware of the provincial law that bars such locations from opening on statutory holidays.

Zeid said the actor was very nice, said hello to people and posed for a few photos.

Meanwhile, the local, family-run chain’s Portage Avenue location was visited by representatives of the Manitoba Labour Board shortly after opening Monday morning.

Zeid said he was told to hand over personal information of all the employees who worked Canada Day, or face a $1,000 per person fine on top a larger fine for opening on a statutory holiday.

“We’ll take that risk,” Zeid said he told the board reps. “We don’t want to risk you losing our employees’ personal information. Plus, if you’re with the labour board, you should already have access to that information.”

This was not the first time the Manitoba Labour Board, followed by police, has visited a Food Fare location on a holiday.

In May, owner Munther Zeid said the chain was given a $10,000 ticket for being open on Good Friday. That ticket was later deemed “a mistake” by city police, saying officers should have only written up a summons.

Food Fare management has been public with its frustrations that casinos, cannabis stores and beer vendors can open on statutory holidays, but not grocers selling home necessities.

“There are people in the neighbourhood who don’t have fridges, so they have to shop here every day,” Ramsey Zeid said. “But you can gamble, get drunk, get high any time.

“It feels like we’re being targeted.”

Zeid said there’s been no word on any Canada Day fines, as of yet. He also said Food Fare locations will be open Aug. 5 for Terry Fox Day.

nicholas.frew@freepress.mb.ca

Twitter: @n_frew

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