Westminster Save-On movin' on

Save-On-Foods will be closing its Westminster Centre location on Aug. 1, the same day it will open a new location at Columbia Square.

The Westminster Centre store's future became clouded after parent company Overwaitea bought two New Westminster stores off of Sobeys in February. One was the former Thrifty Foods in Sapperton and the other a Safeway in the Royal City Centre two blocks from Westminster Centre. Both have since been converted to Save-On-Foods.

The sale came about because of a Competition Bureau ruling ordering Sobeys to divest itself of 23 stores including the Sapperton Thriftys after it purchased Canada Safeway last year. Sobeys insisted the Royal City Centre, and several other stores, be included in its deal with Overwaitea.

Before that sale was concluded, however, Overwaitea had decided to put another store close to Downtown in a space formerly occupied by IGA Marketplace.

The company said it decided to close the Westminster Centre outlet after doing a market assessment to consider its best options.

Save-On vice president Jamie Nelson said all the employees at Westminster Centre will be transferred to the Columbia Square location.

Bart Slotman, vice president of Uptown Property Group which owns Westminster Centre, wasn't willing to comment extensively on the move.

"We'll wait for Save-On-Foods and see what their plans are for their space." said Slotman. "They have approached us about closure, but what they're going to do with the space they haven't approached us about that.

"We'd be very curious to see what's next."

In addition to Save-On-Foods, Overwaitea operates stores under the banners of Overwaitea Foods, PriceSmart Foods, Cooper's Foods, Urban Fare and Bulkley Valley Wholesale.

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