Future of lone grocery store in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue uncertain

Click to play video: 'Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue sees sole grocery store reopen'
Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue sees sole grocery store reopen
There was a grand reopening in Sainte-Anne-De-Bellevue by the community's only grocery store to welcome customers back under new ownership. The beloved store closed suddenly almost five months ago, leaving many residents with nowhere local to shop. Global's Brayden Jagger Haines reports – May 25, 2023

For the second time in less than a year, the future of the sole grocery store in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, Que., is uncertain.

The owners of Marché Ami Plus say due to financial troubles, the store is on the verge of closing its doors next month.

The lease with Metro grocer, the franchisor of the store, is up on April 6.

Claude McSween and his wife Lory Vansteene took on the mantle as new owners in hopes of saving the community shop in May of last year.

Vansteene says they are operating in the red with a significant debt while dramatically revamping the corner store.

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With slim profit margins, Vansteene says a number of factors, including high food prices and even traffic troubles on the Île-Aux-Tourtes bridge, are to blame for dwindling revenues.

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Metro said in a statement that it was made aware of the announcement last week, “earlier than the expected.”

“We have been working with McSween for over the past few months to find solutions, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough. The store was no longer profitable and suffered a significant drop in sales volume, mainly due to the economic context,” spokesperson Geneviève Grégoire said.

Currently, the couple say they are in talks with both Metro and Sobeys on the possibility of transferring the store’s ownership.

In the meantime, they say the store will remain open while they wait for a verdict, which is expected by the end of the week, according to McSween.

The news of the all-too-familiar situation has led some in the tightly-knit community to start a GoFundMe page to support the staff who may soon be out of a job.

So far residents have raised over $700.

“We’re a small town. To keep it going we need places like this. You know, it’s sort of a battle,” the GoFundMe’s creator, Martin Silverstone, said.

Silverstone says the store is a necessity for the residents of the village. The closest grocery store in the area is in neighbouring Baie D’Urfé — a difficult commute for the large clientele of seniors who do not have access to vehicles.


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