BY EMMA SCHATOCHIN
With the Dec. 24 closure of Linda’s No Frills approaching and Walmart’s decision to cancel plans to open a store less than 2 km east, some south Mississauga residents are feeling the pressure to find another local, affordable grocer.
“It is sad to see it go because it is a community store,” said Michael Self.
“The seniors that live around here are really going to miss it.”
A ifelong Port Credit resident, Self says he’s been shopping at 99 Lakeshore Rd. E. since he was a boy helping his mom do the groceries.
Self relies on a motorized wheelchair to stay mobile following a diagnosis of Parkinson’s disease.
He says the store – which used to be a Loblaws – holds emotional value, as well as one of practicality.
The closure, however, has been in the works for years.
Official plans to shut its doors were first made public in 2008.
The final decision came down to the location’s lack of profitability, Loblaw vice-president of external communications Tammy Smitham confirmed.
LOW-BUDGET VERSUS GOURMET
Cashiers are advising customers the last day to shop is Friday, Dec. 23; shelves are thinning out as items are no longer being stocked.
“Well, nobody is happy about it,” said Ward 1 Coun. Jim Tovey.
“It’s a great, affordable grocery store right downtown Port Credit that a lot of people rely on, as it is walking distance from a lot of those apartments and for people living in the village.”
Ashley and Josh Machado recently moved to Port Credit with their five-year-old daughter and newborn son.
They say they don’t drive, and the convenience of an affordable grocery store within walking distance is part of what drew them to the area.
Ashley Machado said she’s disappointed her husband will now have to make lengthier grocery trips alone.
On the other hand, other residents say the village is due for an upgrade.
Arshad Khan, 48, has lived close to No Frills for two years. He says he wants “out with the low-budget and in with gourmet.”
But who’s to say when gourmet will come this way?
Centre City Capital, which owns the lot, is redeveloping the site and building a condominium with four storeys of retail commercial and office space fronting onto Lakeshore.
A grocery store is being implemented into the design, according to CCC spokesperson Wayne Patrick.
Construction, though, isn’t set to begin for another two to three years.
Port Credit BIA general manager Ellen Timms says “the BIA is really unhappy to see that space become empty in the middle of our vibrant community.”
THE LAKEVIEW WALMART
It’s not the only vacant space to worry about.
American big-box giant Walmart has revoked its decision to open a store in Trinity Development’s 4.7 acre Lakeview project, which is on the brink of completion at Lakeshore Rd. E. and Enola Ave.
Tovey says he’s “not surprised” by Walmart’s decision to withdraw since there’s already a location at Dixie Rd. and Dundas St. E.
Following a recent meeting with Trinity, Tovey confirms Walmart has leased the large commercial space for 20 years, with no plans to open a store, adding Trinity is working with Walmart to sublease the space.
In the meantime, the loss of jobs – and job creation – in the area has No Frills employees wondering what to do next.
Produce manager Carson Ash says employees knew they’d be out of work eventually, as closing signs were first posted on the store at least five or six years ago.
“It was just a matter of when,” said Ash, who has worked at No Frills for about 18 months following the closure of his former employer, Target.