Special correspondent Ann Thurlow just dropped by, fresh from a news conference at City Hall announcing that a new grocery store has been secured for downtown Charlottetown. Here’s an artist’s rendering:
The store, to be branded Clover Farm, will be housed in the old Carter’s store on Queen Street, most recently home to Home Accents and Beyond The Beach. It’s a wonderful space, with high ceilings and wood floors; I have many fond memories of buying office supplies there from Carter’s. The store will be operated by Gary Currie.
Ever since the Coop and Uncommon Grocer closed and the Root Cellar went all Leacock, buying food downtown has meant trudging up to one of the grocery megastores uptown. This new store, which Ann reports to have all the variety and richness of inventory we might ask for, has the potential to reinvigorate the downtown as a residential destination. Kudos to the Mayor, to Councillor Kim Devine, and to the City’s development staff (to say nothing of Mr. Currie) for making this happen.
The “artist’s rendition” of the store is a bad scan of a bad print that was handed out at the news conference.
What do you mean by “..went all Leacock”, Peter?
who cares about the artist’s rendering..there’s a grocery store coming downtown!! YAAYYY
I am thrilled about this new store but I am still concerned that people SAY they want a grocery store — but that they won’t actually use it. I would be interested to know what kind of incentives/community relations…anything it would take to build a good, solid customer base for the store.
Ann’s last comment is on the money. As someone who grew up working in a Clover Farm store which is no longer in operation, I can say for certain that, despite people’s best intentions, they are suckered in by the lower prices (on some items) and vast selection at the super stores.
The market niche between convenience stores and the biggies is a difficult one to capture. Brighton Clover Farm and Clow’s Red and White are two that have done it successfully. There are dozens more that haven’t been able to compete in today’s market (at one time there were 40 Clover Farm and dozens of Lucky Dollar stores on the Island — now there are only a handful). On the upside, Mr. Currie has lots of experience in managing a mid-size grocery store, and may be the one to pull it off.
It will take great customer service/community relations, add-ons such as delivery (how about taking orders via the Internet for pickup on the way home from work?), and a bit of creativity to make it succeed. Lots of ‘to-go’ food both for the downtown lunch crowd and for pickup for supper would be a sure winner there, as well as smaller sizes for the singles and seniors markets.
From all reports, the former Co-Op a short distance from the new store, which did offer delivery and phone orders, was making money, but not enough of it. The lunch counter was reportedly a gold mine. Unfortunately the store, badly overdue for a refit, just didn’t fit the head office’s bent towards “no frills” stores, and they shut it down rather than upgrade it.
Ann was right on, to the surprise of maybe one person. It was all talk from downtown residents who wanted someone else to burn thru their money, based on the false promises of downtown residents. In fact, not only did they not shop there as promised, but the ones that did enter the door were more interested in shoplifting then shopping.