Residents in Minto, N.B, are excited to have a new grocery store open for business after the previous Foodland store burned down in June 2017.
The store opened on June 28, just over a year after the original stored burned down.
Foodland franchise owner Richard Veenhuis said it’s a huge relief to have a full-service store back up and running.
“It was a load off my mind and off everyone’s back here,” Veenhuis said.
“It’s just nice to have a grocery store back.”
For weeks after the fire, residents were carpooling at least 30 kilometres to neighbouring communities to get groceries until a temporary Foodland store was opened in the Village.
“It was only 2,000 ft. of retail space, but Sobey’s was fantastic to put up a temporary store for the community and they backed the community 100 percent and myself, they’ve been here for me too,” Veenhuis said.
He said he’s grateful for the support of everyone in the community and said everybody banded together to make it work.
Resident Mary Miller said the new store is “like heaven”.
“It is a tremendous relief, we are so pleased to have this new store,” Miller said.
Miller said she’s most excited to have the store’s bakery back.
She said before the temporary store opened she was driving to the Village of Chipman — 25 minutes away — to get groceries.
Veenhuis said everyone is thrilled to have the store back and said the mood in town is “fantastic.”
“I think it’s huge. In a small town like a lot of New Brunswick and rural Canada, when you lose your grocery store or your police department or your bank, your town seems to just dry-up, and having a new grocery store I think it’s good for the town,” Veenhuis said.
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Minto’s deputy mayor Reggie Barton said it’s wonderful to have the store open again.
“Obviously it’s been a little over a year since we lost the other one, which was probably one of the most tragic events the community has ever seen, and we come from that to a year later, look where we’re at, we’ve got a nice shiny new store with lots of stock and everybody’s happy. we’re shopping again and ya everything’s good,” Barton said.
He said the Village Council had been delivering food to seniors and residents who didn’t have access to vehicles.
“We had requests at the office for people that didn’t have a drive to get groceries, we were lining up drives for them,” Barton said.
Barton said the community spirit is even stronger now than it was before the fire.