Colchester Co-op closes its doors for the last time
'It's very sad'
TRURO - Leslie Burrows walked up and down the Co-op aisles speechless as she stared at the nearly empty shelves Wednesday night.
Jocelyn Langille quietly put a few items in her cart.
Staff member Karen MacKay tried to say goodbye to last-minute shoppers but often burst into tears, only able to say, "I'm sorry. I told myself I was not going to do this."
The mood was somber at the Co-op last night. At 6 p.m. the 53-year-old grocery store ceased to exist as it locked its doors for the final time.
"This place means everything ... it's just like a family," said MacKay, an employee of the Co-op for 24 years.
"It's hard to let it go. It's very sad and it's going to take a couple of days" to adjust.
MacKay said she will miss the tight-knit group. Her tears broke momentarily as she recalled fond memories such as fellow staff members nailing lunch cans to the floor and making pies out of oil and sunflower seeds to celebrate birthdays.
"Sometimes they would fill the birthday person's car with Styrofoam chips ... I'll miss these people," MacKay said.
Twenty minutes before closing last night, about 15 cars were in the parking lot and a handful of shoppers were inside the store when the announcement "attention customers the store is closing in 20 minutes" was heard.
That daily reminder didn't sound different, but all knew it was the last time it would be spoken at the co-operative. Fifteen minutes before the store closed the lights went out in the dairy, meat and produce sections and people stopped to look at red tape cordoning off those areas that were forever closed.
Brentwood's Jocelyn Langille has been a Co-op member for 30 years and she used to be an employee with the fuel division. She was picking up a few last-minute items that were up to 70 per cent off the regular price last night.
"It's sad. It's a little bit frustrating because people didn't realize what they had until was gone," said Langille.
"I've always shopped here and enjoyed the staff and products. Part of the reason I'm here tonight is to say one last goodbye."
Burrows, secretary of the Co-op board, said although it was sad to close the store, it was time.
"It's better than prolonging it ... we've known it was coming for a long time. We did everything we could (but) people in Colchester County decided not to support a local-owned store," said Burrows, adding leftover products would most likely be given to other Co-op stores.
She said the last few days at the store were "very busy" with the "greater percentage of customers non-members."
The decision to close the store came Dec. 17 after a majority vote to close the business was taken. The grocery store, which employed 27 people, was in need of an immediate infusion of about $500,000. The Truro Feed Mill and Co-op Fuels home heating business will not be impacted by the grocery store's