Lights changing from Safeway red to Save-On green

Overwaitea Food Group officials have confirmed the staff at Duncan Safeway will keep their jobs following an announcement on Thursday they’ve signed a purchase agreement with Sobey's.

The deal gives the B.C.-based company 15 new grocery stores across British Columbia and Alberta, including Duncan’s Safeway.

“We are thrilled to welcome these stores, along with their existing team members and customers to our group,” Overwaitea president Darrell Jones said in a media release. “As a local grocer our philosophy is to tailor our stores and the mix in those stores to suit the needs of our customers and their communities.

“We rely on the folks who work in each of our stores to help us understand and deliver that.”

As part of Sobeys’ acquisition of Canada Safeway, Canada’s Competition Bureau required Sobey’s to divest itself of a number of locations.

Enter Overwaitea, which is owned under B.C. billionaire Jim Pattison’s umbrella of businesses.

Overwaitea’s Julie Dickson confirmed all staff at the Duncan store will join their team as they make the transition and Duncan’s current grocery store’s departments will also stay put.

“We will be offering the same great departments and services customers are used to, including all the fresh departments like meats, produce, bakery and deli that Save-On-Foods customers love,” said Dickson in an email to the News Leader Pictorial. “We will begin to take possession of the stores in mid-March, and plan to have the integration of all 15 into our group by the end of April.”

Other locations include one in Sidney, three in Victoria, one in Ladysmith, one in Nanaimo, one in Port Alberni, one in Tsawwassen, one in Abbotsford, and two in New Westminster.

The Duncan store will be called Save-On-Foods. Duncan’s previous Save-On-Foods store closed in 2008.

The Safeway Airmiles program will not be continued under Save-On. Instead, it will transfer its Save-On More Rewards program to the Duncan store.

The binding purchase and sale agreements will see Sobeys also sell 22 of the 23 stores it is required to as part of its consent agreement with the Competition Bureau. As a result, the Safeway in Courtenay is set to close in May.

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