The people of Castlegar are getting a new supermarket. Extra Foods has been the anchor of the Mall at Columbia and 15th for years, and since Shoppers abandoned ship and moved, it has been the main reason that people have frequented the mall.
Enter No Frills
Still part of the Loblaws chain of supermarkets, there will be Presidents Choice products, but less overall consumer choices (after all, who really needs 14 brands of toilet papaer anyway?), and as a result, (hopefully) lower prices. This is a model that has met with success in communities around the world, (I’m thinking of Aldi in the US and Australia), so hopefully it takes off. From the website listing stores in BC, this seems like it will be the first outside of the lower mainland.
One reviewer of a No Frills in Vancouver described it as follows:
This used to be an Extra Foods Supermarket. It had charm in a communist era Eastern Bloc kind of way. It felt like shopping in one of the old “hard currency” markets in the USSR or East Germany in the 1980’s. But alas, “progress” has come and Loblaws decided to renovate the store and rebrand it to be the first No Frills in Vancouver. Selection is still roughly the same as before, with a heavy focus on President’s Choice products. But now it is all in a sterile white and yellow environment. Bright shiny generic No Frills. Character gone. Discount prices still there.
While humorous, this review will likely hit a nerve with those who believe that progress only involves more consumption. For many in Castlegar, money is tight, and finding ways to stretch the budget can be a challenge. Saving money on staple items is one way to lessen the amount your family spends on groceries. For this reason, I think No Frills in Castlegar will do well. We like to think Castlegar is a Starbucks Coffee Shop in Safeway kind of town, but for many who live here, No Frills might be a better representation of their life in groceries.