Whitehorse Daily Star

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

BRACING FOR THE ONSLAUGHT – Save-On-Foods president Darrell Jones, right, and store manager Alan Kaarsemaker are seen early this afternoon in the new Whitehorse store. They will be opening to the public at 7 a.m. Friday, with a grand opening planned for Saturday.

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Photo by Vince Fedoroff

Last-minute touches were happening this morning at the store.

Grocery market gains major new entrant

Another major grocery shopping option will open its doors to Whitehorse tomorrow.

By Stephanie Waddell on August 24, 2017

Another major grocery shopping option will open its doors to Whitehorse tomorrow.

The new Save-On-Foods store on Chilkoot Way will open Friday.

The event will happen close to a year and a half after ground was officially broken on the site in March 2016.

“It’s exciting,” Alan Kaarsemaker, the store’s manager, said in an interview Wednesday afternoon.

The store will open to shoppers on Friday, with the official grand opening set for Saturday.

The 42,000-square-foot store owned by the Jim Pattison Group, is set to offer various Save-On-Foods services.

Those include online shopping, an in-store Starbucks, the More Rewards points program, fresh prepared foods available at the deli, and so on.

A number of local products will also be available in the store, with officials working with Yukon suppliers to bring in their products.

Kaaresemaker has been working to get things ready at the local store for about the last three months.

He said a total of 210 employees – approximately 40 per cent of those full-time, with the remainder part-time – are employed at the store. They include 10 managers for various departments.

“We’re proud to be a major employer here now,” Kaaresemaker said.

The staff are busy getting ready for the store opening, he noted.

Kaaresemaker said officials with the grocery chain had been looking to get into the Whitehorse market for some time. They have determined this is the right time.

At the ground-breaking ceremony in March 2016, it was noted the store would be built on a site that had originally been slated to house a new movie theatre complex a number of years ago.

Landmark Cinemas had announced the plans for the theatre – and had run advertisements promoting the future project for several years.

Landmark eventually agreed to end the lease it had on the land.

Save-On-Foods purchased the 1.4-hectare site along with the 0.55-ha site next to it.

The city’s original Ricky’s restaurant was demolished to make way for the sprawling new store. The restaurant is now located in the Days Inn on Second Avenue.

Kaarsemaker said the building and prepping to open the new store have not been without their challenges.

However, the plans have remained on schedule. Officials with the chain have been pleased the Whitehorse community has welcome Save-On “with open arms,” he said.

Kaarsemaker also noted Whitehorse will be added to the list of stores on Save-On’s website once the premises have officially opened.

A number of Save-On-Foods officials are set to be in the city for the opening events, including president Darrell Jones.

Comments (36)

Up 1 Down 0

jack on Aug 31, 2017 at 1:38 am

@ Bandit bring back Scotty's Pizza and Riverdale Christie's!

Up 0 Down 0

Josey Wales on Aug 30, 2017 at 10:28 pm

Went shopping there tonight. Change up is nice, stuff I eat is more than the other. They appear to hire actual Canadians, was nice to speak with staff without feeling like a ESL instructor.
For folks hoping for family bargains, or pressure for the other to get it together...I dunno?
Parking lot felt kinda tight unless I parked like a total knob, I did not.
That said, folks in town now have an option as to where their grub can be acquired and that is a good thing.

Up 1 Down 0

martin on Aug 30, 2017 at 9:30 pm

Bandit: yeah, the OLD Food Fair on 1st Ave. with expired dates on most food products and blackened meat............. Ah, the good OLD days

Up 1 Down 0

Yukon Justice on Aug 30, 2017 at 7:12 pm

I don't care who they are as long as they don't send all their rotten, moldy, garbage produce up here and charge us double.

Up 9 Down 3

Bandit on Aug 30, 2017 at 3:55 pm

The new Save-On is nice but I say Bring back the original OLD Food Fair on 1st ave.
Aisles that were slanted and cramped, what the heck, while we are at it bring back Nelsons hardware.

Up 10 Down 4

Hugh Mungus on Aug 30, 2017 at 12:29 pm

@Pete Richards
Minimum wage jobs should be filled by those entering the workforce. Not a person with 4 kids at home. If you think service business that employ min wage folks should pay $20/hour than you'd better be prepared to see that cost of the goods and services they provide double to cover those labour costs. Sure, a few people could afford that but the very folks you are trying to lift up now can afford a loaf for bread for $10 that used to be $5.

Up 9 Down 10

Pete Richards on Aug 30, 2017 at 11:57 am

Min wage should reflect the min actual cost of living and sadly it doesn't. A livable wage in Canada is actually around $20h.

Up 32 Down 7

Just Sayin' on Aug 29, 2017 at 9:55 am

HAHAHHA. I love the comments when people state the store is clean and the shelves are full. The store is new! I would give it a year and then determine it cleanliness. The other issue, just like Walmart and SS, is the way our food gets here, Alaska Highway. If the highway is in poor condition, the trucks break down etc. it means their shelves will not be stocked either.

The other issue is, I have seen people at SS drop things in the aisle, watch them break open and walk away. I have seen people who change their mind on a purchase and place it in an incorrect aisle. SS is a representation of society and the lack of values we have. I have lived in the Yukon all my life and remember Super Value; it was a different time then, people had respect for the store and treated as such. These days, that is limited, society wants clean everything, but refuse to clean up anything. Public bathrooms are an amazing display of this. People do not flush, do not wipe up the piddle left on the seat, yet, they complain because the bathrooms are dirty. The stores in Whitehorse are a symbolism of the priorities in society.

Up 17 Down 5

Darin Sherk on Aug 28, 2017 at 8:17 pm

I have read all the good and bad, competition is good I agree. Don't forget though every new store will always be competitive but slowly they increase their prices. I have recently moved to Alberta and I'll tell you SS prices in WH are the same here, Save On is much higher. One other note
let's not forget Wykes "LOCALLY OWNED" Yukon produce sold. Supporting local avoids ghost towns! Save On will have all the same logistic issues SS has wait and see, maybe en worse as that company is smaller...

Up 24 Down 4

Groucho d'North on Aug 28, 2017 at 11:57 am

I'm glad everybody is price conscious with the introduction of a new grocery store, it will make it much easier to determine the level of inflation the coming carbon tax will bring to us all. But don't worry, the Liberals say we'll get all of it back.

Up 27 Down 4

Dawn Worthington on Aug 28, 2017 at 11:38 am

Good for competition, they had a good variety of food. Hopefully they stay cheaper, and hopefully they train their staff good customer service, something Superstore and Walmart are lacking!! If a customer asks for a product and needs help to find it hopefully they don't say "somewhere in isle 4 i think", lol

Up 30 Down 2

north_of_60 on Aug 28, 2017 at 2:28 am

Now the lines at the Superstore are shorter. That's fine by me.

Up 30 Down 0

Mr M on Aug 26, 2017 at 12:02 pm

To Martin and all the other posters on this sight DON"T EAT NAILS. Pass this onto loved ones. Just sayin that a little more competition and variety in this town would be nice. I also don't eat nails.

Up 44 Down 2

Allan Foster on Aug 26, 2017 at 11:33 am

Just buzzed through the new store - objective opinion follows
got my points card PDQ
checked prices of about 20 items that I always buy - some higher - some lower than SS - most about the same
quality of produce is top level
selection of bulk items rivals Bulk Barn in variety and price
the store has lots of DIFFERENT stuff
checkout line is over an hour long - will wait a few days to actually buy something
Sure seems like a good addition to WH retail to me.

Up 37 Down 3

jack on Aug 25, 2017 at 11:56 pm

I remember watching WHTV channel 9 local talk show (yes, there was a local TV talk show) in 1978 as the panel debated the huge scandal that Kelly Douglas (then, the only grocery distributor in Whitehorse) was shipping all of their out of date/rotten produce from BC to the Yukon. At the time it was an outrageous practice which was soon halted.

How far we've come since those days!!

Up 47 Down 4

Tom W on Aug 25, 2017 at 5:21 pm

I'm thrilled to see Save-On-Foods come to town. A company that isn't run by Loblaws, as competition is a very good thing. For those that say Superstore is cheaper....who the hell pays $90.00 for a piece of meat!? Time and time again Superstore puts these on their shelves expecting to gouge consumers. There is no reason meat should be this expensive...and if you're a butcher...you would know the cuts they sell you are nothing but garbage. I've been to many Save-On-Foods down south, and they do a phenomenal job....and unlike Superstore, ensuring their shelves are never empty of produce any time of the year. Their bakery is far better then most I've seen in other stores both in the Yukon and down South. Those that disagree can keep paying for their $90.00 steak, but I am going to enjoy Save-On.

Up 10 Down 19

Martin on Aug 25, 2017 at 4:08 pm

To Mr M: For you it might be so: I for one, don't eat nails. Also, there is Kilrich

Up 15 Down 51

Barb on Aug 25, 2017 at 4:02 pm

I am trying to put my like or dislike on the comments already made here and it says I have already chimed in. I guarantee you I have not. Having said that another big box grocery store is not what was needed and their hiring practises and wages are appalling. Thanks but no thanks. I will pay a bit higher if I have to at Super Store or Independent as I am always treated with respect there, I find what I need. I can get local at Independent.

Up 18 Down 42

jc on Aug 25, 2017 at 3:59 pm

Been there today and saw their massive prices. I don't think SS and Independent have anything to worry about.

Up 33 Down 14

Smerks on Aug 25, 2017 at 3:27 pm

Obviously Save On did their due diligence, crunched the numbers and thought Whitehorse is a viable market. Personally I've been to them down south and was not impressed, more expensive than SS and Independent and their brand name items are not as good. What puzzles me is how to we have this many grocery stores for roughly the same population give take a couple of thousand while we are still stuck with the same dysfunctional Home Hardware Store. We have been through a housing craze and still no outside building supply stores coming to the rescue, I can't figure that out?

Up 57 Down 3

June Jackson on Aug 25, 2017 at 1:44 pm

I dropped into the new store today and I loved it. It's clean. Shelves were stocked, the "kitchen" area was immense with a great selection to choose from... Produce was fresh, not soft and wilty.. I recognized faces from the other stores and said Hi.. they are telling me it's so much nicer to work in than.. ??? and ??? or ??? :)

The other stores in town will have to up their game to compete with these dudes...

Up 33 Down 7

Sobeys and Safeway are not America brands at all. on Aug 25, 2017 at 1:13 pm

Sobeys is from New Glasgow, Nova Scotia and is 100% Canadian. I knew Frank Sobeys, who was a great Canadian and the family is still in the business. Yukoners, now you know why I write pieces in the paper because of all misinformation that is put out there.
I grew up 80 Klm's from the Sobeys.
Sobeys owns Safeway in Canada and operate it separately. Independent is a great store and the owner is great business person and as a senior they're great for seniors.
Super Store is going down and the store is dirty a lot of the time.
I have shopped at Save on Foods when it moved into Edmonton and they were great operators.
Save on Foods will get a range of customers because the way they do business and the product mix is smartly done for the market they are in.
Wilf Carter

Up 35 Down 5

Dave on Aug 25, 2017 at 12:18 pm

I was in the new store today where I met literally every other person I know from Whitehorse, for my 2 cents I think this Save On location is quite nice and will probably give a pleasant shopping experience once the initial crowds thin out a bit. I'm not going to complain because I'm grateful for every business we can get up here but the fact that we now have 3 Starbucks in Whitehorse seems a little much, especially with 2 of them across the street from each other. Someone needs to use a little imagination and bring a Blenz Coffee or anything else besides yet another Starbucks to town.
And Mr. M, I completely agree with you we need a Home Depot or Rona... Supposedly suggestions are being taken for the future of that large parcel of land off Robert Service Way, it would look so good with a Home Depot standing there!

Up 38 Down 14

Tom Riddle on Aug 25, 2017 at 10:06 am

This is great news for Whitehorse, and will benefit the area tremendously in terms of jobs and produce. Sobey's and Safeway are both American brands so having a Canadian brand in the picture fits in with the buy local, shop local.
It a win-win for Canada in my books!
Great work Save on Foods team.

Up 39 Down 1

Dc on Aug 25, 2017 at 8:26 am

Good for Whitehorse. Coming from someone who is a life long Save-On shopper, you guys are in for a treat.

Up 57 Down 2

At home in the Yukon on Aug 24, 2017 at 9:47 pm

It seems lately that Superstore just hasn't been able to keep its shelves and produce stocked. Hopefully with another big box, they will be able to keep up. As for me, I will try the new store, and will decide which of the two is my go to first store.

Up 77 Down 3

Debby on Aug 24, 2017 at 7:55 pm

I'm glad there's another store, SS never has anything on the shelves and it's filthy. Time to sharpen your pencils!

Up 46 Down 16

Just Say'in on Aug 24, 2017 at 7:30 pm

For those that believe this will drop prices in Whitehorse, give your head a shake. I have been in the south for the last month and the prices at Super Store in the south is virtually identical to Whitehorse. Save On and Safeway are way more expensive. More expensive then Independent as well. So maybe a few more options but likely the same old same old. Wykes already supports local growers I hope everyone realizes that.

Up 51 Down 4

Hugh Mungus on Aug 24, 2017 at 6:40 pm

Derek we may not need another store but we don't need another store under the Loblaws umbrella where both stores send out 'sales' flyers with THE EXACT SAME SALES. I'll go to whomever is cheaper.

Think of it this way, do we need another Toyota dealership? No. But we could use a Mazda dealer to give people choices and keep retailers competitive and honest.

Up 25 Down 8

Miles Ocean on Aug 24, 2017 at 6:22 pm

Should we be suspicious if all three stores have sale items on for the same price?

Up 31 Down 12

jc on Aug 24, 2017 at 5:45 pm

A major employer, but what about the pay? Does it come even close to the government wages? It takes about 3 private enterprise workers to equal one government workers wages now.

Up 9 Down 45

Douglas Hnatiukluma on Aug 24, 2017 at 4:59 pm

There is too much city congestion around these large stores and in the downtown core in general.
The City will explore options for linking Riverdale (Millennium Trail) and other areas so people can commute to shopping areas via using their snow machines and ATVs.

Up 37 Down 20

Mr M on Aug 24, 2017 at 4:17 pm

We need a Home Depot, Rona or Lowes more than we need another grocery store.

Up 23 Down 163

Derek Kindervater on Aug 24, 2017 at 3:32 pm

I don't see the need or demand for another big box grocery store.... plus i'ts hard enough as it is for the current stores to find employees. More big business greed.

Up 23 Down 64

Mark Wedie on Aug 24, 2017 at 3:03 pm

For those like myself that have a Sobeys/Safeway in their area... prices are very high!

Up 103 Down 9

Finally some competition on Aug 24, 2017 at 2:37 pm

Good for the Yukon. Wilf Carter

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