The District of Houston will soon be losing Loblaw’s Super Valu, the only grocery store in town.
Super Valu, which has served Houston residents for over 40 years and employs 27 people, is slated to close its doors on June 25, 2016.
This comes after the announcement that Fraser Lake’s Super Valu will also be closing its doors next month.
Houston Mayor Shane Brienen said that when he heard that Fraser Lake’s Super Valu was closing, he was afraid that the one in Houston would also be closing.
“We kind of had a feeling that the store here would be next,” he said. “But we’re still shocked to see Super Valu closing its doors.”
“Our big concerns are, of course, some of the seniors and low-income people,” he told Black Press. “It’s not very easy or convenient for them to go out of town to shop.”
Getting to the next closest and comparable supermarket will force Houston residents to head to Smithers or Burns Lake, a 45-minute drive away.
In a press release, the Houston council said they were saddened by the imminent loss of Super Valu and that they are now planning their next steps.
“There is room already within the district’s development bylaw that allows us to address this situation immediately, namely through mobile vendors and existing businesses to step in and fill gaps,” said Michael Glavin, Houston’s Chief Administrative Officer.
Mayor Brienen said he has little doubt that residents and businesses will step up to address the loss of the grocery store.
“Already we have some businesses stepping up to fill the gap,” said Brienen. “Some of them are looking at bringing produce to fill that need, while others are looking at ways to address the loss of other foods.”
Super Valu’s parent company, Loblaw Companies Limited, said in a statement that both the Houston and Fraser Lake Super Valu stores were underperforming.
“Unfortunately, both stores have been underperforming and we don’t expect that to turn around,” said spokesperson Tammy Smitham. “We have a long history in these communities and recognize the important role the stores have played.”
Mayor Brienen said he’s that confident another chain will fill the gap soon.
“The way I see it is that I would have a hard time believing we can’t get another chain in there with our population,” he said. “So I know there will be some overlap, but I’m fairly confident we can get someone to come in.”
“While the district may be losing its grocery store, Houston has always been a resilient community,” added Brienen.