Save our Thrifty’s

Moving downtown Thrifty's to a larger location is not convenient for those who shop there

Dear editor,

Regarding the rumour of the downtown Thrifty’s closing, I hope this rumour is just that, and will never happen. Why? Because our 6th and England Thrifty’s is a busy, thriving, important fixture in the heart of our downtown core.

In this location, Thrifty Foods has a high profile. It participates in on-site events during our July 1 celebration, the Classic Car rally, and Market Day. It donates to many worthy causes and is recognized and supported for that generosity. It has the unique position of being the only grocery store in our downtown. I cannot believe that downtown Courtenay Thrifty’s is not making money. As that is the only reason, besides desiring a bigger space, that I can think of that would cause you to move to another location.

Why is bigger not always better for your customers? Well, a few reasons come to my mind. With this smaller downtown location it is a pleasure to get groceries. It is exhausting for moms with kids in tow and pushing strollers, and seniors using walkers or canes, to walk through these newer giant-sized grocery stores to find bread at one end of the store and milk at the other. Even walking from those huge parking lots is challenging for some.

A small store offers a social and personal connection between customers and staff that is lacking in bigger stores.

Larger stores have their place, but so do smaller ones.

I live close to downtown, as does my mom. We shop at Thrifty’s a few times a week. We walk unless it’s pouring rain. Thousands of others shop at this location regularly; they often walk and bike, not only drive. The soon-to-be-vacant Safeway site may seem to be “in downtown,” but it’s far from it for those of us who live here.

Despite their limited space, Thrifty’s departments are very well supported. Your flower shop thrives – the florists’ creations have a beautiful reputation – and your meat and seafood counter is always busy.

Courtenay is unique as are all the other places where Sobey’s and Thrifty’s stores are located. Please don’t lump us all together under the same business approach and decision-making policies.

I challenge you to spend a day or two hanging out in our downtown Courtenay Thrifty’s. Then you will understand what I’m trying to tell you about what this store means to our downtown core and to the people who live here.

Linda McLean



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