In Lac Saint Jean a wholesale grocery store is closing its doors

In Lac-Saint-Jean, a wholesale grocery store is closing its doors –

Lac-Saint-Jean is effectively losing its only zero-waste grocery store as Alma-based Le Lac en Vrac is forced to close its store. This is the second grocery store of its kind to close in the area in just 5 months.

Zero-waste grocery store Le Lac en Vrac is more popular than ever thanks to its sales. Around fifty customers were in the store on Wednesday morning looking for bargains.

“There are really a lot of people there. “I left this morning and said to my partner, 'I hope I'll have people.' But here it's more than expected, it's crazy,” noted owner Julie Maltais, who puts her heart and soul into working on the Cashier engaged.

She was accompanied by a single employee who helped her respond to the customers, who were so numerous that relatives came to help.

“It would have been nice to have people there all year round, but that’s just how it is. Maybe people aren't ready for zero waste yet. The pandemic certainly also played a big role in the balance,” emphasized Gisèle Gagnon, who has been working at Lac en Vrac for two years.

Customers have become fewer and fewer since the end of the pandemic. This is also one of the main reasons pushing the company to cease its activities.

“At some point you have to make a choice. I am tired. It's been two and a half years since I paid myself a salary. December wasn't good, we got kicked out. So in December everything came together to say, 'Okay, that's enough,'” the owner said.

The company received an eviction notice last December. The city of Alma will take possession of the building in question on June 30. Therefore, in addition to repaying the emergency loan granted to Canadian businesses during the pandemic, the company also had to find other premises to continue its operations.

“Here, too, it was the costs. Finding the right space or finding space was impossible. There aren't that many free spaces in Alma. So it was also more difficult in terms of visibility,” Ms Gagnon added.

Difficult for large companies

This is the second zero-waste grocery store in the region to close its doors in just five months. On September 10, the grocery store La Réserve de Jonquière had to close its operations for almost the same reasons.

“Few people know that they are buying organic products in bulk and local products. This is what Julie offered us. I find it a pity. We have developed good consumption habits and it will be difficult to maintain them without buying in bulk and locally,” lamented a customer.

“We’re going to go back to the grocery store with a lot of packaging. I don't think there are many people who realize that if it closes, there won't be anyone else who will open either,” said another regular customer.

Despite the unexpected rush due to the sale, the company has indicated that it will still close its doors at the end of the week.

“Even during the holiday season there was no traffic. So it makes no sense to continue for another six months. We also have to pay supplier invoices,” explains Gisèle Gagnon.

All goods, including furniture, must be liquidated by next Sunday.