The only grocery store in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue is permanently closed as of Saturday evening, and employees and residents are left wondering what happened.
A Facebook post on Friday is the only warning shoppers and some employees had that Marché Richelieu would be closing its doors after 85 years.
“It’s a big loss for the community,” said Natacha Filion, one of 25 employees who will not only have to find a new job but another grocery store.
“I’ve been shopping here since I was a kid, with my parents. I knew the Richard family really well. It’s really tied in here to the heart and soul of the community,” said Filion.
Residents will now need to go to Baie d’Urfé, Beaconsfield or cross the bridge into Pincourt. None of those stores are walking distance.
“I think as a community that mostly walks everywhere, there’s students, there’s people who have less means and they walk to the grocery store, it’s going to be a real challenge,” said Isabelle Francoeur, a local shopper.
“Most of the time I ride my bicycle, but you know, we’ll have to use the car more often I guess. Not the best thing for the environment,” said another shopper.
Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue city councillor Ryan Young is devastated.
“I have close friends who are elderly or who are disabled or they’re young students and all of them are in tears,” he said.
There is little information available but, according to Young, bankruptcy is the reason for the store closing.
“It was the Richard family that ran it for years. They eventually sold it to this group that is now going bankrupt but it does have a relationship with the Metro grocery chain and I really hope that the Metro grocery chain is going to do something about this,” added Young.
In an email to Global News, Metro says they only learned on Thursday that the store was closing.
“Metro is the franchisor of the Marché Richelieu banner. We learned just Thursday afternoon that the store was closing. It is unfortunate that its financial situation does not allow it to continue operating. On our side, it’s too soon to tell, but we will look at all the options available.”
In the meantime, Young is encouraging residents to get involved.
“Write letters to the mayor or to the whole city council asking for the city to get involved in whatever way they can,” he said.
“It’s a community crisis and it needs all hands on deck to try and find a solution.”