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Amid Loblaws boycott, locally-owned grocers in Maritimes see spike in sales


As the boycott of Loblaws-owned stores approaches three weeks, locally-owned grocers in the Maritimes are noticing a boost in their sales numbers.

Daniel Cullen is the owner of Dans Country Market in Saint John, N.B. He says since the start of the boycott he has noticed an increase in daily foot traffic, with sales up anywhere from 25-to-35 per cent.

“It’s been great, a game changer even,” says Cullen on the increased business. “People are coming in and saying, ‘Oh, I’ll start coming here first before going to the big store,’ so they come here first as a first option and what they can’t get here they are going to the big stores for.”

He notes his prices have always been lower than the typical big box chains, and says customers have been thanking him and his staff for keeping their prices reasonable.

One of those customers is Carol Cosman. Tuesday marked the first time she had stepped foot in the local grocer, and she intends on coming back after seeing the prices.

“I’ve been in other stores and the three steaks were $75 which was crazy,” Cosman says. “And I mean, look at this, I got a steak here, two beautiful steaks for only $12, that’s only like six bucks a piece. You can’t buy it in the other stores, honey, I’ve tried.”

Dans Country Market isn’t the only locally-owned grocer in the region to see an uptick in sales over the past three weeks.

In Dartmouth, the Gateway Meat Market has also seen an increase in traffic since the boycott began. The store is already one of the most popular shopping destinations in the area given its prices, with lines commonly stretching out the door.

Owner Tamara Selig says they are pushing for an expansion as they don’t expect the demands to lessen any time soon. She says nowadays the storefront is operating at a maximum capacity.

“We’re just trying to adjust and are running a night crew to keep up,” says Selig. “We have deliveries that were maybe four days a week are now eight to ten a week.”

She says to keep up with the increased demand the store has extended its hours to allow shoppers more time to get what they need, and always has all eight of their cash registers open for the public.

She says the team has been working hard to provide customers the best possible service with food insecurity at an all-time high across the country. Selig also notes customers have been coming from across the province and even New Brunswick in an effort to save a couple of dollars.

“Our receipts always detail how much money they are saving,” Sellig says. “So we will give them their total and the amount of times that new customers will look at our cashiers and just be flabbergasted or think that they missed something is bittersweet.

“It’s heartwarming to make our customers happy, but it is frustrating that things have gotten this bad.”

Tuesday afternoon, organizers of the month-long boycott announced they will be extending their boycott efforts past the month of May, and will plan to focus on advocacy efforts in the months ahead.

No matter where the boycott goes from here, both Cullen and Selig know they have made dozens of new customers for life.

“Just having new faces coming in everyday and saying how much they love the store and then seeing them again has been a bonus with all of this,” Cullen says.

“We just find that once people walk through our doors once and get home and try our products they are customers for life,” Selig says. “We have such an increase in followers on our Facebook page which is super active everyday where we post deals on a daily basis. We also have a huge increase in people that have signed up for our flyer.

“I wouldn’t expect those folks to be temporary customers.” Top Stories

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