Close to 40 Port Alberni Fairway Market employees will be out of work at the end of January as the Victoria-based company has decided to close the grocery store.
Employees received a Working Notice of Termination of Employment from Westport Foods Ltd. on Nov. 2.
In the letter obtained by the Alberni Valley News, it states that the company will not renew their lease that is up at the end of April 2017 for the Port Alberni store. Therefore Fairway Market, which is one of the anchor stores at the 10th Avenue Plaza, will close its doors on Jan. 31, 2017.
“It was a difficult decision not to renew the lease but decreasing sales has made the store unprofitable to continue,” states the letter.
“Accordingly, we have decided to wind down and close the store.”
Robert Jay, vice president of operations for Fairway Market, said between February and April the store will be emptied and the property will be turned back over to the landlord.
Jay said competition was part of the reason why sales have been declining for the past several years.
“Our lease is coming up and due to declining sales it’s not been sustainable to keep it open and renew the lease,” Jay said.
Doug Book, manager of the Port Alberni Fairway Market, said the news of the closure was a surprise to him.
“I’m sad obviously, I mean I’ve been here since 1998,” Book said.
“It’s a bit of a shock for the staff and I feel sorry for the staff also.”