A fresh food market is set to open in Hull in the upcoming spring. This supermarket will be the first of its kind in the downtown Gatineau, Quebec area in over twenty years.
Saveurs, an autonomous enterprise, has scheduled its opening for May 2024. The establishment will be located on the first level of a residential complex situated at the intersection of Wellington and Eddy streets.
The final grocery store in the vicinity shut down in 1999.
Steve Moran, a council member from Hull-Wright, stated that previous attempts to draw a store of the same kind to the area have been unsuccessful. This was primarily due to major chains expressing apprehension about the potential profitability of establishing a business in a lower-income neighborhood.
“It is significant that we will soon have a grocery store that is courageous enough to take a chance and declare, ‘We have faith in the local economy…and we are committed to serving the residents of downtown Hull.'”
Concerns around affordability
Residents of the area have classified it as a “food desert,” where they depend on convenience stores, co-ops, and restaurants for their meals, and have to go outside the community to find everyday groceries.
Réjean Laflamme, the chair of the community organization Coopérative de solidarité de l’épicerie de l’Île-de-Hull, expressed that the area has a significant number of individuals experiencing poverty, making it financially burdensome for them to cover the expenses of transportation for grocery shopping.
Laflamme is optimistic about the potential assistance from Saveurs, but he is uncertain if the prices at the new grocery store will be reasonably priced.
However, he asserts that the arrival of a new grocery store in the area will be welcomed by the local residents.
Moran expressed his comprehension of the concerns regarding affordability.
“He stated that if we were to introduce a grocery store catering exclusively to the higher income bracket, it would still qualify as a food desert, albeit only for those unable to afford shopping there.”
Moran expresses his assurance in Dany Plante, the new store owner, being dedicated to collaborating with the community.
Moran stated that he is currently engaged in talks with various community organizations.
“And the fact that it’s not a big chain [means] they also have the ability to adapt their offering to make sure it responds to the people who live downtown.”
CBC has attempted to contact Plante but has not received a response.
Ottawa Morning4:48To what extent can this new business contribute to the revitalization of downtown Hull?
The anticipated opening date for the second store is 2025.
Since 2006, Laflamme’s team has been making efforts to establish a cost-effective supermarket in the region.
Laflamme stated that in the past, there were always issues, but this time he believes all the necessary components are ready and the construction phase should begin in 2024.
In the year 2021, the city council of Gatineau made a decision to set aside a piece of land in the neighborhood for the purpose of building a grocery store. Specifically, the designated land is located behind the Robert Guertin Centre, at the intersection of St-Rédempteur and Allard streets.
The store will be located on the ground floor of a social housing building with 107 units and will include a pharmacy. It’s slated to open in 2025.