O'Leary grocery store to re-open Wednesday

Eric McCarthy
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Heating system malfunction caused soot to coat merchandise over Christmas holiday

Display cases were stored in the aisles Monday as O'Leary Framers Co-op staff and employees wtih a restoration company, make final preparations for the store's re-opening on Wednesday. All the merchandise in the store, including the cleaning products, will be fresh and new.
Eric McCarthy/Journal Pioneer

O’LEARY -- The O’Leary Farmers’ Co-op grocery store will re-open for the first time since Christmas Eve this Wednesday, January 8.

The store was due to open, as usual, on Dec. 27, but when staff arrived for work that day they discovered a layer of soot and ash over everything.

The furnace had malfunctioned some time after a staff member checked the store on Dec. 26, Co-op manager Darren MacKinnon explained.

A major cleanup, including disposal of practically all of the stock, started almost immediately and MacKinnon said that has been ongoing around the clock ever since.

A temporary heating system is in use while the co-op awaits the arrival of a new furnace to replace the one that malfunctioned.

Last week MacKinnon expressed hope the store would be ready to re-open on Jan. 7 but on Monday morning he indicated stormy weather and holiday scheduling with some suppliers caused the opening to be delayed one more day.

He expects the shelves to be 95 to 98 per cent stocked in time for re-opening. Tractor-trailer loads have been arriving at timely intervals since Saturday. The final load of dried and canned goods arrived at 4:40 a.m. Monday. MacKinnon said that load wasn’t scheduled to arrive until after 7 a.m., but the Co-op requested that it come earlier to get ahead of the freezing rain and the possibility of traffic restrictions on the Confederation Bridge.

Meat and produce will arrive Tuesday. “A team of specialists will be on site tomorrow afternoon to prepare and merchandise all that,” MacKinnon reported. “Our direct vendors are here now starting to stock.”

He said the re-merchandising has also allowed for the co-op to add new product lines.

“It’s rolling together, it’s a very co-ordinated effort.”

In the meantime store staff are systematically re-stocking the freshly cleaned shelves and the First on Site Restoration company are finalizing the cleanup.

MacKinnon said co-op members are scheduled to arrive in two shifts Monday evening to assist with the stocking.

MacKinnon said the entire store has been cleaned and repainted, and new ceiling tiles and lighting installed.

A member customer appreciation celebration is being planned to acknowledge the support and encouragement the co-op has received during the closure.

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  • Norma leclair
    January 06, 2014 - 22:24

    So glad your are reopening