Chemainus Foods to close doors after almost 30 years

It’s a sad time for some residents of Chemainus who will soon see their longtime grocery store close its doors for good.

It’s a sad time for some residents of Chemainus who will soon see their longtime grocery store close its doors for good.

Chemainus Foods has been a fixture at 9790 Willow St. since 1987. Over the last two years, however, the business has struggled.

“Marketplace changes have finally caught up to us and while we have tried to develop ideas that would keep the doors open we’ve not been successful,” read a letter from the owners distributed by the Chemainus and District Chamber of Commerce on Jan. 6.

The letter noted the “great support” of the landlord for the past two years before focusing on employees.

“We know this will be a difficult time for our staff who have served us and the community well,” the letter went on. “We are really sorry there was not a better outcome.”

The store will remain open for a time to sell off inventory and the owners hope locals show up and take advantage of the clearance sale.

North Cowichan Mayor Jon Lefebure feels for staff who are now out of work.

“I think the saddest thing about this is there are some very, very long term employees there who have, I think, some of them have worked there literally their entire working lives so it’s very tough on them,” Lefebure said. “We don’t like to lose any business in Chemainus or North Cowichan and so it is unfortunate.”

But the writing was on the wall, it seems.

“Most people have known that it was going to be a tough market for both the new food store and Chemainus Foods to survive,” Lefebure noted. “Obviously Chemainus Foods has not managed to keep going.”