FreshCo Coliseum, a new grocery store, will rise by September where Safeway now stands at 82 Street and 118 Avenue. The current Safeway closed on May 29 at 6 p.m. for renovations, although the pharmacy inside the store and the gas bar on the corner will remain open.

Both stores are owned by Sobeys, which started as a small meat store in Nova Scotia in 1907.  In addition to Safeway, IGA, Foodland, and others, Sobeys has expanded to include more than 100 FreshCo stores since 2010. 

As a deep discount supermarket, FreshCo is likely to be welcomed in our community. It is one of several FreshCo stores opening in Alberta this year. Sobeys has been rebranding certain Safeways slowly but surely, planning for up to 64 stores in Western Canada.

A visit to the new FreshCo Heritage store at 2011 111 St showcases what the brand has to offer. All FreshCo stores are franchises, explains franchisee Keith Manasterski, who opened his store on March 18. At 35 years of age, Manasterski has been in the grocery business for 12 years. 

“Our motto on the outside of the store says it all,” says Manasterski. The bold sign in green and blue reads, “Lowest Price Guaranteed. We price match.” 

Manasterski is working to source local Alberta offerings at competitive prices for Edmontonians. Shoppers can expect to find Edmonton products in the store, such as baked goods from Italian Bakery.

The store offers frozen and refrigerated products that reflect their communities. Each store has Fresh Hall product aisles, featuring fresh food items, baked goods, cheeses, and meats. A feature aisle offers further savings for shoppers.

Southside resident Jill Langevin has shopped at FreshCo Heritage since it opened. “The prices are good. There is a nice variety of international foods,” she says. Her preferred items are staples, produce such as fruit and vegetables, and condiments. With no butcher or bakery onsite, Langevin goes elsewhere for these items. 

The new store on 118 Avenue is likely to be well received, observes Manasterski, if his store is any indication. “The 118 Avenue area is a mixed demographic. FreshCo products, from lower to mid-range in price, will be a benefit,” he says. “It’s likely to be a really good store. In fact, it may be the best one.”

Joanita Nakimbugwe is a cash register cashier at Shoppers Drug Mart on 118 Avenue at 82 Street. Looking across the road to the current Safeway site, she says she looks forward to the change to FreshCo. “It will be something new, something different, and we’ll go from there. Safeway is a little expensive, but the location is convenient. I think the new grocery store will be good for our neighbourhood.” 

One thing is for sure: the new storefront will be bright and welcoming and will hopefully revive the grocery-shopping experience in our area.