By Maggie Muttart
Cassidy Green of Charlottetown. She can’t wait until the Walmart Supercentre is completed, she said.
“Honestly a Supercentre is just what we needed,” said the 20-year-old, who studies psychology at UPEI.
“I live on my own and I buy my own food, so any way to save money is a bonus. And I’ve visited Wal-Mart Supercentres off-Island and the prices they can offer can be ridiculous.”
The renovation of Wal-Mart’s Charlottetown location into a new Supercentre has lots of people wondering about the impact.
Fifteen randomly chosen shoppers at West Royalty Superstore were asked why they chose to shop there, and there was a variety of different answers.
Twelve said they chose the Superstore because it was the store they had always shopped at. Two said they were in a rush and the store is closer. One man said he was there for the sale on canned lobster.
Jonathan Good is the store manager of West Royalty Superstore in Charlottetown. With the changes coming to their competitor just down the street, his grocery store is preparing to feel an impact, he said.
“First of all, Loblaws doesn’t price match, which means we have no way to beat Wal-Mart’s prices,” Good said.
“But for West Royalty Superstore, we have an older demographic because of the way our store is set up. A lot of elderly shoppers tend to visit the same grocery store every time.”
Wal-Mart’s renovations, which began early September 2014, are scheduled to wrap up towards the end of this month, which is when Good anticipates sales at some grocery stores will take a hit.
“For the first little while, people are going to be intrigued and curious about Wal-Mart’s prices and their new set up,” said Good.
“But I think after the novelty has worn off, a lot of Islanders will return to their regular routines and stores. I feel our shoppers do have loyalty for us.”
Carl Cudmore is the manager of the Sobeys grocery store located closest to Wal-Mart in Charlottetown. He has a similar theory to Good’s.
“A lot of Islanders stick to their routines closely,” he said.
“I know a lot will be interested to see what Wal-Mart has to offer, but I feel the hype won’t last.
“Another thing is that Wal-Mart is a box store which focuses on a lot of different product. With grocery stores, our specialty is food, which can be a factor in quality for sure.”
Stratford resident Emily Bulger said even with the prices Wal-Mart has to offer, they can’t beat location.
“With a Sobeys in Stratford, there’s really no reason to make the trip to town,” she said.
“With Sobeys, I know where everything is and I can make it out in 10 minutes.”
Holland College student Jesse Cole said his favourite thing about the new Supercentre is the fact it’s only two blocks away.
“I don’t own a car and I likely won’t until after I graduate, so having decent groceries so close is really awesome.”