New Brunswick — In a stunning revelation reported by various news outlets last weekend, Co-op grocery stores apparently still exist. As reported on CBC’s website midday Sunday, Co-op Atlantic is proposing to sell its grocery and gas assets to Sobeys for an undisclosed amount of money and/or possibly favours of some sort.
“We’re not really sure what we want at this point,” said Co-op Atlantic spokesperson Adrianna Roussie. “I doubt we’re worth a whole lot really; I haven’t looked at the actual figures. I’ll get around to it once I take a good, hard look at the offer sheet they’ve sent us. I’m not stuck on wanting a certain amount of money, though maybe some free groceries, a discount of some kind, or even the freedom to use their intercom system whenever we wanted to — that’d be super fun. We’ll see.”
The Manatee was shocked to learn that Co-op still has about 173 member-owned and franchised stores under supermarket banners such as Co-op, Valufoods and the convenience banner Rite Stop. The company is contemplating selling off these assets to its competitor in an effort to simply keeping the business afloat.
“We’re barely scraping by,” said a confused-looking Roussie. “I think so anyhow; again, I haven’t looked at the figures.”
Under the proposed agreement, the current independently owned stores would remain open and simply begin to purchase their products from Sobeys warehouses. “They would just start buying the food from Sobeys,” Roussie further explained, “like most of the shoppers already do.”
The recommendation to sell comes after a complete financial review of the company that took months. “That’s why I haven’t taken the time to look at the results,” Roussie admitted. “It took so long to do the damn review that by the time we were done with it, I was sick of looking at all the numbers. So, someone proposed we look at selling and I just agreed.”
The Manatee struggled to find Co-op shoppers who were willing to talk to our reporters about the proposed sale. Moncton resident Janet Cormier did allow us to ask a few questions as she loaded her bags into her vehicle. “Just make it quick, I’m on my way to Sobeys now and then to the Superstore to finish up,” she said hurriedly. “I’m still a member here so I try to come once in a while, but I do most of my shopping at Sobeys or the Superstore, or Walmart or Costco. Sometimes Giant Tiger or the Dollarama too. Oh, and there’s some good deals on food at Canadian Tire or the Circle K sometimes too. Every other Wednesday me and my friend go to Price Chopper, Lawtons, Shoppers, the downtown Quick-Stop and we used to go to Target, too.”
A representative from Sobeys didn’t immediately return our calls, emails, texts, voicemails or pages.
Members have until May 12 to vote on the proposed sale.