'It's very sad'

Monique Chiasson
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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

Organizations: Colchester Co-op, Co-op board, Truro Feed Mill and Co-op Fuels

Geographic location: Colchester County

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Recent comments

  • Carole
    March 01, 2010 - 14:40

    It's just a grocery store, it's not like it's the only one ever, we have lots more! Geesh!

  • SMc
    March 01, 2010 - 14:40

    It is heart breaking. I have been going to that store for more years than I wish to count. The staff were always friendly, helpful, and efficient. I agree with Karen that this move was made long before it was announced. Even Ms. Zann was not allowed to speak on our behalf. Shameful the way the higher ups used the staff and their loyal customers.

  • low income
    March 01, 2010 - 14:40

    It is very sad to see the co-op close after so many years but how could they compete with higher pricing. I could not afford to shop there, the other grocery store chains were always less expensive!

  • sue
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    It's so sad to see the Co-Op close for good. I've been shopping there for 40 yrs. I'm sure going to miss the store and the employers. They are like loosing a long lost friend. I don't know where to shop now as i don't like the big stores. It takes hours to find what you want. I liked the meat department alot as they had the best, if something was not in the display case Brian would go out of his way to try to get what you wanted. RIP CO-OP

  • Cindy
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    My husband and I moved to Truro 3 years ago from Halifax and were immediately taken with the Co-Op - we purchased memberships shortly after moving in and bought our first load of groceries there and every one since.

    It was a much simpler and easier way to shop, given how it was a small store. And we really liked being able to buy Maritime-grown beef, chicken, fruit & vegetables, etc.

    We'll definitely miss the Co-Op and the friendly staff who you always knew - none of that staff rotation like the big box stores. They were very dedicated to the Co-Op cause and great at customer service.

    It is very sad.

  • Carole
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    I made my donation to the Red Cross today, and I'll probably stop at the Superstore or Sobey's on my way home tonight!

  • Gortex
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    Very sad ? I enjoyed the Co-Op, and am disappointed to see it go. I especially hope the garden centre will be open in the spring, even if the grocery store isn't.

    But very sad ?

    But let's put things into perspective here, folks. Over 100,000 people were killed in Haiti this week. The survivors are having major problems finding clean water and food. That is what's VERY SAD !

    Let's be thankful that this is the biggest worry of our town, ok. We don't know how good we have it!

    Best wishes and good luck to the people who lost their jobs.

  • kmac
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    My heart is broken! I love the co-op & all it stood for & I am so sad that we will no longer have the option of shopping there.Maybe they were a bit higher on some items but it was such a great place to shop. The staff knew you by name & you felt like you mattered to them. Try getting that in the box stores.I know we all have to pinch our pennies but you don't know what you have just lost!My heart goes out to all staff past & present who made the co-op an awesome place to visit!

  • Karen
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    There was no vote!!!! Co-Op Atlantic already knew that it was going to close our store long before Dec 17 even came about.I used to work there,I loved that store.I grew up in the area and remember going to the Fruit stand 30 yrs ago and ordering fries and a burger when they had the little canteen.It was the members that didnt try to keep us open.Oh yes there were some members that were faithful but not all of them.And poor management especially in the last 5-6 yrs.The place has gone downhill since then. R I P Colchester Co-Op you will be sadly missed and always remembered fondly with lots of memories.

  • Bill
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    Gortex get a life! Maybe if more people in Truro and area were as concerned about locals jobs as they are about some third world countries problems thinks would be better here. Go ahead Gortex and others the red cross is open extra hours so you can give them money to pass on to dictators and soon to be war lords in other countries! charity starts at home!!

  • Me
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    Carole; Yes it is just a grocery store but it was also 27 Employee's Jobs that were lost.

    If you don't have the decency to realize that then maybe you should do more productive things with your life then post comments on the internet, Or better yet you could have gone to the store and tell the Poor staff there your reasoning instead of HIDING behind a computer screen.

    If you still have a Job and you happen to lose it or the business shuts down I will be the first to Pitch in a say It's only your Job, Go find another one!

    Have A Nice Day!

  • Gilliad
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    I'm sorry for those who continued to shop at the Co-Op right up to the end. Unfortunately, for some of us who have to watch our pennies very carefully - seniors, as an example - we have to go where the prices are lowest and the quality is still consistent with the marketplace.

    I joined the Co-op a couple of years ago, fully intending to do my grocery shopping there in support of the local economy, but I found the limited availability of certain products and generally higher prices forced me back to the giants.

    I still try to visit Co-Op when the planting season comes around, but again, there are other sources that have lower prices.

    Let me be honest with you: I don't particularly care for Sobey's or SuperStore (known not necessarily affectionately as StupidStore in our home), although I believe the floor staff works hard at trying to make them friendly places to shop. So I get in, do my shopping, and get out.

    The death of the Co-Op is simply another example of how our world is changing, and not necessarily for the better.

    Long live the Co-Op.

  • Maggie
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    I agree Gortex! Disappointing for the long term customers and committed staff of course....but very sad???

    Reality of retail, no business equals no business......way it works.

    Be grateful for the good in your life.

  • d
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    ive been going there a couple times a week and have been a member there for a few years very sad to see it closed .i dont like the crowds at the other stores not sure what i will do but i will miss the staff at the coop as always so friendly and helpful.

  • John R
    March 01, 2010 - 14:39

    It is so hard to read this I have shopped at the coop for a long time prior to becoming a member it was so convenient for me, however I am pleased that the pharmacy will remain there, Mike not only was my pharmacist but he was a friend and very helpful - all my very best to all the staff and management- John Blair, member