Both provincial and local politicians were on hand on the morning of Wednesday, Oct 9, for the grand opening of “No Frills”, the renovated, remodeled and renamed grocery store at the centre of Ponoka, a facility whose owner promises will bring better value to consumers.
Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Rod Fox, Mayor Larry Henkelman, and several members of the town council joined Colin Mackenzie, the owner/franchisee of the new store, to cut the ribbon at the new facility, which used to be “Extra Foods”.
Several representatives of Loblaw, the mother company to the chain of grocery stores throughout Canada were also present..
Even before the ribbon was cut, first customers started to roll in with their shopping carts as the speeches continued.
“One of the biggest changes when we do the transition from Extra Foods to No Frills is that we remove some of the convenience areas,” said Mackenzie in an interview.
“We’ve removed the clothing and much of the merchandise is gone. What that does is to allow us to focus on the core business, which is food.”
He said they had spent “an enormous amount of money” for refrigeration and that they had improved the presentation.
“So we can offer a lot more frozen products and fresh produce to customers.,” Mackenzie said.
But more importantly, Mackenzie said consumers would spend less. “They will see the difference in pricing,” he stressed.
“But we can only deliver that by losing some of the merchandise.”
The new store will provide a much bigger variety in fresh produce, according to Mackenzie. He also said that there would be gluten-free food products on offer.
Remodeled on an area of almost 28,000 sq. ft., Mackenzie’s No Frills becomes the 47th store of the chain in Western Canada.
The franchisee Colin Mackenzie has been with Loblaw Companies Limited since 2008 when he worked as the Store Manager at Real Canadian Superstore in Calgary.