‘Life will be coming back’: Montreal community’s only grocery store will reopen this spring

Click to play video: 'West Island community’s only grocery store to reopen in the spring'
West Island community’s only grocery store to reopen in the spring
WATCH: Back in January, the only grocery store in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue suddenly closed its doors after more than eight decades. It was a blow to the community and the store’s 25 employees who lost their jobs. But as Global’s Felicia Parrillo reports, the store has new owners which comes as a huge relief to the West Island community – Apr 12, 2023

Claude McSween just got the keys last week. He and his wife, Lory Vansteene, are the new owners of Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue‘s only grocery store and are getting straight to work.

McSween is no stranger to the food business.

Back in 2012, he became the owner and revamped the only grocery store in Hemmingford, Que., and he’s also owned two butcher stores.

Back in January, he was enjoying retirement when he heard about the closure of this store and knew he wanted to help the West Island community.

“My son said ‘Dad check the TV, the grocery store in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, they [filed for] bankruptcy,'” said McSween.
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“We had a store in Hemmingford and we know how important it is for the community to have a grocery store,” added Vansteene.

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Marché Richelieu, which operated under the banner of Metro Inc., had been a staple of the community for 85 years.

The store’s sudden closure, after a bankruptcy, left dozens of employees out of work and shoppers scrambling to figure out where they could buy groceries close by.

Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue Mayor Paola Hawa, who met the owners for the first time on Wednesday, says its been a difficult few months for the community.

“I was speaking with the dean of McGill University, and she was telling me how it’s been also very difficult for students, because a lot of them don’t have transportation,” said Hawa.”We became a food desert here.

“And so to see that life will be coming back, and at this level — it’s so interesting and so encouraging.”

Click to play video: 'Metro says search is on for new merchant to fill Sainte-Anne’s lone grocery store'
Metro says search is on for new merchant to fill Sainte-Anne’s lone grocery store

The new owners say they’ve already began to hire staff — many of whom are former employees — but are still looking for more.

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They say there are a few repairs to do and lots of cleaning. Old stock will be donated if it’s still good, and new inventory will soon be moved in.

A lot of that inventory will be locally made — the couple says it’s important for a shop like this one to promote local products.

“If we want people to buy local, it’s important for us to buy local too,” said Vansteene. “It’s kind of a circle. I help you, you help me.”

The couple says they’re aiming to open the store by the end of May.

They hope it will once again become a hub for the community.

The shop will be called Marché Ami.


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