Saskatoon community saves local grocery store from closing down

Marcel Vogt, store manager, in front of the Steep Hill Food Co-op on Broadway, Saskatoon. Brady Ratzlaff - Global News

After local grocer, Steep Hill Food Co-op in Saskatoon announced earlier last week that they would be closing down, a surge of community support will keep the store open.

Management will look at ways to reduce overhead costs to make running the store more feasible.

On the 7th of April, Steep Hill Food Co-op, a local grocer located on Broadway in Saskatoon, announced that they would be shutting down.

“The Board has reviewed our finances and – very reluctantly – taken the difficult decision that the store must close,” the announcement on their website said.

A week later, after an official meeting with members, that decision has been reversed and the store will remain open.

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“There will be an official vote on Monday April 24th, but we already received so much support from the community that unofficially it is already 100 per cent sure that we will remain open,” Marcel Vogt, the store manager said.

Steep Hill is the last grocery store remaining on Broadway after Extra Foods closed down last spring. Locals would have to walk 15 minutes to the nearby farmers market or take a bus to 8th street for groceries if Steep Hill would close down.

“A lot of people in the neighbourhood, especially older residents, rely on us for their groceries. They often don’t have a car, so we are the closest store for them.”

The store will now operate with reduced hours to cut costs and only sell local products and produce. This will continue until management can come up with a plan to reduce overhead and make running the store more feasible. Members will get to decide if they like that plan.

“Now that we are sure we will stay open, we want to make sure we do it right. We will come up with a robust long term plan and maybe even look towards expanding in the future, because our sales are good and our membership keeps growing. We just need to update some systems to cut overhead costs,” Vogt said.


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