At the beginning of January 2017, I wrote a blog post about the financial situation of the downtown store. It has been over two weeks since I wrote that blog post and I thought I would share an update on the downtown store’s situation.
In my earlier blog post, I let the Edmonton community know that the downtown store was on the brink of giving our six-month notice to close. I shared that if people wanted us to stay and operate an independent local grocery store in the downtown core then we needed them to come out and support us on a continuing basis. Our blog post from early January outlined the reality that the downtown store is struggling and the Whyte avenue store, nor my line of credit, could continue to provide further funds to fill up the financial hole the downtown store has dug.
Since posting “Use Us or Lose Us”, we have seen several new faces at both stores and received constructive feedback from many of you, which has been appreciated. The response in these first weeks has been so encouraging and heartwarming, and the corresponding sales have been – happily – quite a bit more than we were expecting.
Our sales increased by almost 12% (compared to last January) across the board, and by 50% or more on several products. We actually ran out of many of these high-demand items as sales were so much greater than expected.
While we were optimistic, we did not anticipate quite this increase in sales. Many perishable items such as milk, eggs, bread, and fresh produce that we receive only once or twice a week have sold out. This is encouraging from a sales perspective, however, we are very sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused to you.
With the hope that this becomes the new normal for us, we have given bakers notice to bake more bread, have adjusted dairy and produce orders, and we’re increasing our stock level to meet your demand on those items that we have run low on. There will be a little bit of an adjustment period to figure out the stock levels that is needed to adequately service our community.
Thank you to everyone that came out and showed your support for our downtown business. We are on target to meet our goal of a minimum 8% increase in sales over last year for the month of January. We need to keep up this momentum to ensure our long-term success. With your continued support, we hope to meet our targets for the coming months and remain a vital part of the 104th Street and Edmonton downtown community. We can only do that with your continued support.
If you are a Whyte Avenue shopper, it’s worth mentioning that transferring your spending to the downtown store temporarily is not helpful. EGS is one organization with two retail locations and transferring business from one location to another does not increase the profitability of the downtown store. We love your support at Whyte so if that location serves you better, please continue to do your shopping there.
My sincerest thanks to each of you. We will keep you all up to date on the situation as it unfolds. The future looks promising and encouraging.