An entire Richmond community is without a grocery store for 15 kilometres after Pricesmart in Hamilton closed its doors on the weekend.
Residents in the East Richmond neighbourhood will now have to fight their way across the jam-packed Queensborough Bridge to New Westminster or travel all the way into the Save-On-Foods on No. 3 and Ackroyd roads, which, ironically, is being rebranded as a Pricesmart.
The closure came as little surprise to the community, who fought valiantly two years ago to convince owners Overwaitea Food Group to save the store from closure.
But their efforts were nothing more than a stay of execution for the supermarket and its 50 employees, some of whom the News understands have been relocated to other Overwaitea stores.
The News tracked down one community members who campaigned in 2009 to keep the store open.
This time, the community I dont think had the energy to battle it out again, said Wendy Walker.
It certainly leaves us isolated as theres nothing nearby. We could try to go across to New West, but getting over the Queensborough Bridge is not easy, the traffic is a nightmare.
After residents convinced Overwaitea to keep the store open in 2009, a store/residents committee was struck in an effort to keep the community informed and work together on ideas to make the outlet more profitable.
None of the things we suggested to help them were carried out, Walker said.
I guess we did our bit the first time around. But we all have lives to get on with and we couldnt fight it a second time.
It will now be a matter of not shopping in our own community.
Overwaitea originally earmarked the store for closure in December, 2008, with the loss of 50 jobs and the community's only Richmond grocery store for 15 kilometres.
However, the company gave the community a reprieve at the end of that year, saying the store would remain open for a six-month trial in the hope that sales significantly improve.
By the spring of 2009, PriceSmart did report an increase in sales and a company spokeswoman said they hoped sales would continue to grow.
Numerous News calls and e-mails to Overwaitea were not returned by press time.