Business change reduces town commodities

A new store is coming to Ponoka although it may not be in the form most people would think.

Extra Foods is changing formats and will become a No Frills in the fall. Some of the changes with the new format will take away clothing lines.

Extra Foods is changing formats and will become a No Frills in the fall. Some of the changes with the new format will take away clothing lines.

A new store is coming to Ponoka although it may not be in the form most people would think. Extra Foods is changing to No Frills in the fall.

This means changes are coming to what is offered at the store. Ponoka News was unable to speak with a Loblaw Companies Limited representative, the company did respond to email queries.

“It’s unfortunate that we’re losing the clothing side of the business. It appears the economic development committee has their work cut out for them,” said Les Jaster, manager of the Ponoka and District Chamber of Commerce.

For those who are used to buying the Joe brand clothing they will have to go elsewhere.

This has left some people upset. Rob McArthur tweeted his disappointment at the change. “Now going to have to drive to #RedDeer for stuff like bulk foods. All the good stuff #PresidentsChoice makes are unavailable at #NoFrills.”

He feels consumers who enjoy the one-stop-shop are going to lose out of that option.

There are other retail stores in Ponoka but most have a niche market such as western wear, hunting clothes or lingerie and parents may have a challenge outfitting the entire family. The No Frills mandate is to offer low prices to consumers, said Elaine Quan, senior manager public relations, in an email. “No Frills stores focus on low prices, great value and a commitment to the community.”

There may be changes to the management as well, Loblaws had a job posting available for a new store manager, which has since expired. Current manager Audrey Cohoe was able to apply for the position but she will most likely compete with other applicants from across Canada. Cohoe was unable to comment as all staff have been instructed to send media inquiries to the company.

Currently the company employs 60 to 70 full and part-time staff, which Quan said would be similar for No Frills. The difference is No Frills is a franchise of Loblaw’s and the new owner has to hire the staff, explained Quan.

Jim Hamilton, owner of Hamilton’s IGA, the only other grocery store in Ponoka, declined to comment on the decision.

At the bottom of every Extra Foods receipt is a customer service number. Consumers can use these to provide feedback to the company: www.storeopinion.ca or 1-877-234-2322.