SuperValu owner Wally Brogan says he’s closing up shop at the end of May, but remains tight-lipped about the future of the store.
Brogan said his lease on the 25,000-square-foot building in Oliver Place Mall ends in May, and he is handing it back over to Loblaw Companies Ltd., which owns the space and the SuperValu brand.
He said he’s “not at liberty” to discuss Loblaw’s plans for the space, but said they are “close to settled but not settled yet.”
“I don’t know what they’re going to do or how they’re going to do it, at this point. It will be a store of some sort there, but I don’t know what brand they’ll put on it,” Brogan said.
Loblaw Companies Ltd. is the parent company behind more than a dozen retail chains, including Shoppers Drug Mart, Real Canadian Superstore and No Frills.
Company representatives did not respond to the Chronicle’s request for an interview,
Brogan said he doesn’t know what will happen to his employees once he retires, but guessed they will be able to apply for work at the new store once Loblaws opens it.
“I wish them all well. I don’t know how they’ll fare, but [Loblaws will] need people, and we’ve got a good crew here,” Brogan said.
The Chronicle spoke with several SuperValu employees who all said they had next to no idea what would happen once the store shut its doors in May.
“Nothing has been said to us,” said store employee Heather Palmer.
Another employee, Susan Schaffrick, said she’s had almost no official word from her bosses about the closure, and most of what she does know has come second-hand.
“There’s so much gossip going around we don’t know what to believe,” she said.
While employees seem in the dark about the specifics of the closure, Palmer and Schaffrick both said store employees received written notice from Brogan last year informing them he would be closing the store this May.
They also know they will have to reapply for new jobs once Loblaw opens a new store in the former SuperValu location.
Aside from these scraps of information, employees have been left wondering what fate awaits them in May.
“Nobody knows for sure, it’s all a big secret,” said Palmer.
Brogan, who is retiring at the age of 72, was good-humoured about his pending departure, and joked that he’s “had enough” with the business after 42 years working under the SuperValu brand.
“I don’t want to do it anymore. That’s as simple and as straightforward as I can be,” he said with an affable chuckle.
He said his son Alan has applied with Loblaws to run the new store.
By Trevor Nichols