Save-On-Foods opens in Laydsmith April 5

All of Safeway's 52 employees have been invited to keep their jobs in the changeover after the sale of the store.

The Ladysmith Safeway will undergo a major change this week after it closes for three days and reopens as a Save-On-Foods.

The brief closure is scheduled to begin Wednesday, April 2 and run through Friday, April 4. On Saturday morning (April 5), following renovations, staff training, some product replacement and the installation of new signage, Ladysmith Save-On-Foods will open to the public.

All of Safeway’s 52 employees have been invited to keep their jobs in the changeover.

“The staff stay with us, which is awesome,” said Overwaitea representative Julie Dickson Olmstead.

Overwaitea Food Group, which owns Save-On-Foods, purchased the Ladysmith store from Sobeys Inc. earlier this year. The Ladysmith Safeway was one of 15 stores in B.C. and Alberta acquired in the deal, which came about as the result of the Canada Competition Bureau’s requirement that Sobeys divest itself of a number of locations after it purchased Canada Safeway. The changeovers began in mid-March and are expected to wrap up by the end of April.

“We are very excited to be in Ladysmith,” said Dickson Olmstead. “We’re really looking forward to it.”

Though Saturday will be a “soft opening,” where staff and customers will be getting used to a new system and new products, Dickson Olmstead said there will likely be an opening celebration in the near future. In the meantime, she said, “We certainly are going to make sure there are lots of good offers to thank the public for the patience.”

She added that other than new signs, new tills and new products, including Overwaitea’s Western Classics and Western Family items, much of the store will remain the same. The existing Starbucks will stay open, but the Airmiles program will not be offered at the new Save-On-Foods. Instead, customers will have the opportunity to participate in the More Rewards program, a spending-based points system that rewards shoppers with free groceries, travel and items such as electronics and giftcards.

Dickson Olmstead added that Overwaitea is very responsive to customer needs, and once the new owners have a chance to learn what local customers are looking for, the store will begin carrying items specific to Ladysmith shoppers.

“The first couple of weeks are about integration,” she said. “We’ll evolve the store, and the offerings, over a period of months. The objective is to have the offerings that make sense for our customers.”