Prairie North Co-op opens new food store in Melfort

Photo courtesy of Prairie North Co-op / Facebook. The new Prairie North Co-op Food Store in Melfort opened on Aug. 17 near the Stonegate development in the south of the city.

Nicole Goldsworthy, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter,

The new Prairie North Co-op Food Store in Melfort opened Aug 17.

Twenty-seven months earlier, Prairie North Co-op and the City of Melfort announced a project that honours the co-operative’s commitment to building a legacy, the construction of a new, 25,000 square foot, state-of-the-art Co-op Food Store adjacent to the Stonegate development. The “COMING SOON” sign went up and land development began.

“We are all pretty excited that the time has come to make this move. On Saturday, Aug. 12, our mall location closed at 6 p.m. so that the task of moving everything from one location to another could begin”, said Terry Tremblay, general manager for Prairie North Co-op. “It is an investment in our future as a co-operative.”

This new build will ensure that Prairie North Co-op grocery customers in Melfort and surrounding area will be able to access co-op products in a new food store that will allow Prairie North Co-op to leverage new technological advances in the food industry.

Tremblay said there are around 50 employees at the co-op food store but that number may increase. When Prairie North Coop initially purchased the land from the City of Melfort, an agreement was made for establishing access. Tremblay said the old store needed major upgrades and couldn’t accommodate all the new and modern equipment that is now being used in the new grocery store. The old food store is now listed for sale.

Tremblay said that in October they contracted McDougall Auctions to help liquidate all the fixtures, equipment, furniture etc from the old store.

The Prairie North Administration Office at 107 Burrows Ave E St., also just moved into there new to them a year ago.

“Recognizing that moving the food store from the mall location to the Stonegate development may have an impact on some, Prairie North Co-op has worked with the City of Melfort to come up with a solution. “In addition to sharing our plans for the move, I am also proud to share that we have finalized the details with the City of Melfort to use the HandiVan as a shuttle service.

The van will pick up people at 1 p.m. every Tuesday and Thursday at Diefenbaker, stop at the Fields Store entrance of the mall, and transport people to our new food store to do their shopping,” explained Tremblay.

“At about 2 p.m. the shuttle will return the way it came. There is no charge for anyone using the service as Prairie North Coop will absorb all costs.”

This service will start on Tuesday, Aug. 22.

Prairie North Co-op will continue to offer delivery service for online and phone in orders for a cost and if anyone using the shuttle that has more than couple of bags of groceries, they can request delivery for the same fee.

“Collaboration and co-operation are at the heart of what we do. I would like to thank the City of Melfort for working with us on this,” said Tremblay. “Our north star is making a difference in members’ lives, and this is one way in which we are delivering on that guiding principle.

Tremblay said that there are a few groups to acknowledge for the work that they have done to get them to this point: the minor football team for helping them move this past weekend, the Prairie North Co-op Board of Directors, and their contractor Kor-Alta.