A small crowd of shoppers — many of them seniors — were waiting for the new Chelmsford Food Basics to open its doors for the first time at 8 a.m. Thursday morning.
One of those happy customers was Helen Vachon, who got up at 6 a.m. in anticipation of purchasing on-sale Thanksgiving turkeys from the grocery store.
“My husband, he said 'Wake up early to go get those turkeys. They're always on sale,' ” said Vachon.
She lives close to the grocery store, located at 3442 Errington Ave. N., and is happy to finally have a Food Basics in her home community.
Gloria Brabant was also one of the first shoppers at the new Food Basics. She arrived with a shopping list in hand.
“I just live right in behind and I've been waiting for it to open,” she said, adding the renovated building is “beautiful.”
The building now housing the Chelmsford Food Basics was previously occupied by a Metro grocery store, which closed a couple of months ago as the building underwent renovations to be converted into a Food Basics.
Food Basics and Metro stores are owned by the same parent company. The new store's opening brings the number of Food Basics operating in Greater Sudbury to four.
“It was a business decision,” said Food Basics vice-president of operations John Manax, who was on hand Oct. 3 for a ribbon-cutting celebrating the store's grand opening.
“We looked at the location, we felt really good about it, and we felt it was time to be in Chelmsford … We believe that there was room for a discounter in town to create value for the shopper.”
He said the store employs about 70 people, about 25 of whom worked at the previous Metro store in the community.
“In the last two weeks, people have been banging on the door, waiting for us to open,” Manax said. “So I think the community is feeling really good about us being here, and we're feeling really good about coming.”
Callie Brabant is the store's manager.
"My team and I couldn’t be more excited to open our doors to Chelmsford. We look forward to connecting with the community and meeting our neighbours," she's quoted as saying in a news release.
Ward 3 Coun. Gerry Montpellier, who was on hand for the store opening, gave “a great big Chemmy welcome” to the store.
He said there was a lot of buzz over at the community's Tim Horton's restaurant about the new Food Basics.
“Thank you for choosing Chemmy,” Montpellier.
In honour of the store's opening, Food Basics presented a cheque for $1,000 to the Friendship House Food Bank, which serves Azilda and Chelmsford.
Danny Lowes, the food bank's director, said just this week, it is providing 71 boxes of food to those in need. He said he's appreciative of “any help we can get.”
The Chelmsford Food Basics is open 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. every day of the week except Sunday, when the store opens at 8 a.m. and closes at 7 p.m.
You can find the store's flyer on its website or with your copy of Northern Life.