Joel Krahn/Yukon News A man walks the aisles of the new Save-On-Foods grocery store during an opening ceremony Aug. 24.

Save-On-Foods grocery store opens in Whitehorse

Overwaitea Foods-owned store enters downtown market previously dominated by Loblaw Companies Ltd

Save-On-Foods opened its doors to shoppers Aug. 25 in Whitehorse, ending Loblaw’s dominance in groceries in the downtown core.

Save-On-Foods is a division of Overwaitea Food Group Limited. Both Real Canadian Superstore and Wyke’s Independent Grocer are subsidiaries of Loblaw Companies Ltd. Previously, if consumers were looking for chain competition to Loblaw, they could purchase groceries from the Super A’s in Riverdale or Porter Creek, or the Bigway in Granger.

Save-On-Foods is no stranger to the difficulties and expenses associated with operating in northern communities, said company spokesperson Julie Dickson. Overwaitea has stores in Fort Nelson, Fort Saint John and Fort McMurray and the British Columbia-based chain has been expanding north, as well as east into Saskatchewan and Manitoba, said Dickson. The new Whitehorse location will be the company’s 161st store, she said.

“Opening up a store in Whitehorse seemed like a great next step for us,” said Dickson.

“It seemed like a great opportunity to us to provide service to this market.”

Dickson said she expects the new store to generate about 210 jobs in Whitehorse.

In addition to the usual fixtures of a grocery store, there will also be a “fairly large warehouse section” in the store, she said, where people can buy products in larger quantities. This is good news for shoppers who come into Whitehorse from communities without large grocery stores.

“In our stores we’re used to accommodating our customers, wherever they are and whatever their needs,” she said.

Including Riverside Grocery, Walmart and Farmer Roberts, that brings the number of stores selling groceries in Whitehorse to eight. Dickson said she did not know the projected value of the grocery market in the city.

“The philosophy of the company is to price competitively,” Dickson said. “We are always looking at how we can find the most effective ways to keep costs down.”

Dickson said Save-On-Foods is open to purchasing local products from local producers, but that “quality and food safety always come first.”

“When it comes to doing business locally … we’re open to all that,” she said.

The new 44,000-square-foot grocery store has been under construction since April 2016. It includes a frozen yogurt bar, made-in-store foods and bakery.

Contact Lori Garrison at lori.garrison@yukon-news.com