With Powell River’s Safeway store slated to close later this month, changes are in store for many families buying groceries. Concerns have been raised that favourite Safeway products will no longer be available in Powell River.
Safeway customers should know, however, they do not have to look farther than Grief Point to find the same great products, says Tod English, principal owner of Pacific Point Market.
The market’s principal supplier is the same company that supplied and owned Safeway. Pacific Point is the only grocery store in town with this supplier.
“If there are items you really like that only Safeway carries, we also can carry it,” says Tod. “Maybe we don't have it right now, but we can get it.”
Tod is encouraging customers with special requests to contact the market for orders.
Pacific Point Market is a locally-owned and operated neighbourhood grocery store located in the heart of Powell River’s Grief Point neighbourhood, at the corner of Highway 101 and Joyce Avenue. It opened four years ago.
“Our customers, management and staff have been great in supporting the start-up,” says Tod. “They’ve shown loyalty and have been patient with the new business and its challenges.”
The market is built around the concept of providing Grief Point and nearby south-of-town residents with a hyper-local option for buying fresh produce, meat, dairy and bakery items.
“We’re primarily a fresh food market, but we also have dry goods, a bulk section and a good selection of frozen food,” adds Tod.
In addition to groceries, the market also includes Vancouver Island-based coffee chain Serious Coffee, all complemented by Pacific Point Suites.
Pacific Point is expanding its deli section, deli tray service and increasing the number of prepared meals and sandwiches available for customers.
Although smaller in square footage than other major chain grocery stores in town, Pacific Point punches above its weight, providing a wide variety of competitively priced fresh products such as bread, milk, meat, fruit and vegetables, explains Tod.
Since opening, the store has become increasingly regarded as a convenient place with great hours to pick up a few items or grab something that was forgotten, he adds.
“We're very convenient, but we're not a convenience store,” says Tod. “We're a full grocery store; we have what people need.”
Having the store nearby has changed how his family shops and eats for the better, he explains.
“We plan meals confidently at the last minute and buy our food on the way home from work,” says Tod. “We want customers to look at us as their fridge and pantry.”
He notes that this is a more European way to live, where people need only smaller fridges and very little inventory in their homes.
With the cost of fuel only going up, providing a central, accessible shop neighbours can walk or ride their bikes to makes a lot of sense, he adds.
And, with the trend in grocery retail moving toward online ordering and free delivery, Pacific Point is planning an ultra concierge service to raise the bar locally. This service will allow customers to submit a shopping list and a time and place they need their groceries delivered and everything will be taken care of.
“Providing a better experience for our customers than what they can get online is just one way small businesses in Powell River can compete,” says Tod. He calls it “Amazon-proofing the business.”
It will provide something far superior to ordering food from online retailers, which can be expensive and leave customers powerless to control when their items are delivered, he adds.
It was never was the store’s goal to capture all of the neighbourhood’s grocery business, but it is designed to allow for customers to see the whole store when they come in and make shopping quick and easy.
“We want everyone to know what the store can offer and that Pacific Point is there for them,” says Tod. “We are a good alternative and continue to grow and improve into what our customers want.”
Located at 7013 Thunder Bay Street, the store is open from 6 am to 10 pm seven days a week.