Investors are paying more attention to Nanaimo’s South End
If you build it, they will come.
Major businesses are investing in the south of Nanaimo because of the number of new homes and planned developments in the area, according to Chris Sillem, with the city of Nanaimo’s planning department.
"Yes, absolutely that’s happening," Sillem said.
To prove his point, Sillem points to the new grocery store opening Sunday morning in Chase River.
On Sunday, Country Grocer opens a new supermarket in the South Parkway Mall. It replaces the Food Country in Southgate Plaza. Both stores are owned by the same company and all of the company’s six stores will now be recognized under the Country Grocer brand, said co-owner Wally Large.
Large said his firm has always recognized the potential for a large supermarket in the Chase River area and now that the population can support it his company wants to exchange the 17,000 square foot Food Country store with its brand new 40,000 square foot Country Grocer facility.
"The Cinnabar and Chase River area is expanding so we know that the market will be there for us," said Large.
He said he also recognized the potential of attracting shoppers from the proposed Cable Bay development.
"We have been in business on the other side of the (10th) street for 24 years and now because of consumer demand, we have decided the people who have supported us in this area deserve a brand new beautiful grocery store," Large said.
"This is something we have wanted to do for a long time to build a store in Nanaimo’s south end," he said.
Jake Zwynenburg, who will be the new store’s manager, said Country Grocer will employ more than 100 people, while Food Country employed only 60.
The new Country Grocer will feature a huge produce department that features many organic products, a full-service meat and fish counter, a bakery where everything is made on-site, a deli and in-store cafe which will offer freshly made soups, sandwiches and organic coffee.
"The new store will have the same owners and familiar team members from Food Country," Large said.
Sillem said beside the new Country Grocer store, Rona is building a large new retail outlet at 10th Street and the Island Highway and Co-op is constructing a new gas bar and convenience story adjacent to the Moose Lodge in Chase River.