The Canada Post retail outlet at the Country Grocer in the Royal Oak closed last week to make room for an expansion of the store. This shows where the outlet had been located. Wolf Depner/News Staff

The Canada Post retail outlet at the Country Grocer in the Royal Oak closed last week to make room for an expansion of the store. This shows where the outlet had been located. Wolf Depner/News Staff

Royal Oak loses Canada Post outlet

Potal outlet in Country Grocer closed after nearly two decades, service handled by other locations

Canada Post hopes to open a new private retail outlet in Saanich’s Royal Oak neighbourhood by late summer, early fall to compensate the closure of its location in a local grocery store.

“We are actively seeking a new outlet and we would like to open it ASAP,” said George Nagy, retail manager for Canada Post in the Victoria area.

The Canada Post outlet inside the Country Grocer location at Royal Oak Shopping Centre on West Saanich Road closed last week after almost two decades of service.

Local reactions to the closure appeared negative.

“It [the Country Grocer] is so convenient for so many people,” said Karin Boothroyd, a concerned resident, who hopes Canada Post will follow through on its promise to open a new outlet. She said the federal government should be providing postal outlets that are convenient and can properly serve the community.

The Canada Post office inside Broadmead Pharmsave less than three kilometres north on the other side of Highway 17 will handle some but not all of the business that has gone through the Country Grocer location.

Nagy said he estimates Broadmead Pharmsave will handle anywhere 30 to 35 per cent of the business that had previously gone through the Country Grocer location.

A trio of private retail locations — Uptown, Cordova Bay and near the intersection of Quadra and Mckenzie Avenue will handle the remaining business, said Nagy.

He acknowledged that these locations might be not as convenient for Royal Oak customers in issuing an apology.

“We apologize for any inconvenience, that’s for sure,” he said. “But we are doing our best to fill this void.”

He also promised to arrange direct delivery of parcels to customers within 24 hours with proper notice if they cannot travel to those locations.

Tammy Averill,marketing manager with Country Grocer, said the retailer cancelled its arrangement with Canada Post because it needs space to expand.

“Our core business is grocery, and we did not have room to grow [to accommodate new product lines],” she said, adding the retailer will retain the long-time staff member who had worked the post office counter.

As for the Broadmead Pharmsave location, it has assumed all of the 100 or so postbox offices that used to be at the Country Grocer location. Canada Post has also provided it with additional resources to handle the additional business coming its way, said Rhea Cavelti, front store manager with Broadmead Pharmsave.

But the location would have been physically unable to handle all of the business that Country Grocer had previously handled.

“If we’d taken all of the business, it would be detrimental to our customer service,” she said.

Cavelti said the new resources would be up and running next week.