In the coming months Sobeys in Clearspring Centre will begin the 5,000 sq. ft. expansion of their store to meet the demands of a growing community.
"Shoppers expressed interest in certain things and this is us listening to them," said Lee Kotowicz, operator of the Sobeys since 2015.
Narrow aisles and generally cramped spaces had shoppers desiring more for the location, prompting officials to regain the extra space back from Clearspring Centre which the location gave up nearly a decade ago.
In 2012, the location shrunk by nearly 7,000 sq. ft. With renovations the grocery chain will get over two-thirds of it back. In the interim the extra space served as a storage area, and during the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic to hit Steinbach in Nov. 2020, it housed socially-distant book fairs and flu shot clinics.
The area which houses the grocery store is one of the longest-serving tenants of Clearspring Centre, anchoring the building since it was built 40 years ago. Originally operating as Penner Foods, the location has had multiple reincarnations before its final form as a Sobeys had been reached.
Kotowicz said with the expansion will come renovations to the existing space including wider aisles and new refrigerators and freezers. Additions to the location will feature full-service counters ranging from seafood to meat to cakes, providing shoppers with a heightened, personal experience. The store will also gain four self-checkout registers, with all construction happening at night as to not disturb the shopping experience for customers.
"Everything we’re doing is being done with the customer in mind," Kotowicz said.
Gerald Jeske, general manager of Clearspring Centre, said the expansion will be largely beneficial to both Sobeys and the mall.
"We were on cloud 9 when it all went through," Jeske said. "There’s a lot of history in having Sobeys here and keeping it here."
In tandem with the renovation and expansion of the grocery store, Jeske said Clearspring Centre will undergo upgrades as well, including the installation of new doors at the main entrance of the mall and general enhancements to further the development of the property.
With the facelift Sobeys will undergo with a planned finishing date of early 2022, as well as welcoming new tenants to the building, Jeske said the mall is quickly becoming a destination for families.
"It’s all about the customer at the end of the day," he said.
"The additions and renovations is 10 steps forward for our community."
Kotowicz said he hopes the renovations will prompt shoppers to choose Sobeys over other retail grocery stores in the city.
"Even though we’re the longest serving store in this community, after the remodeling we hope to be looked at as the newest store in this community."