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Long-time Coquitlam grocery store closing for good on Christmas Eve

Loblaws has announced it is closing the Your Independent Grocer at Cariboo Centre, signs say the store will close on Dec. 24.

A long-time Coquitlam grocery store is closing to customers Christmas Eve.

The Your Independent Grocer located at 455 North Rd. has announced it is closing on Friday (Dec. 24).

But for those looking for last-minute bargains and holiday goodies, some baked goods, dry goods and fruit and vegetables were still available when the Tri-City News visited on Wednesday (Dec. 22).

Cashiers were commiserating with one another and saying "goodbye" to customers.

One cashier who has worked more than 20 plus years at the store at Cariboo Centre said she's not ready to retire and will be looking for another job.

"I'm sure someone will have me," joked Pat, who said she needs to keep busy.

Staff were still clearing shelves and cleaning up but most of the store, including the pharmacy, was empty.

A sign referred customers to the Real Canadian Superstore at 1301 Lougheed Hwy.

Carmen, who has been shopping at the store for 40 years, since it was a Buy-Low, said she will miss the convenience, the staff and the neighbourhood feel of the small store.

"I'm really going to miss it," Carmen told the Tri-City News.

In an emailed statement, Loblaws said it was closing the store because it was no longer profitable and that staff had been taken care of.

"The decision to close this store was not an easy one, as we have a long history in the community and we value our customers and colleagues there," a spokesperson wrote to the Tri-City News. 

"Unfortunately, the store has been unprofitable and we don’t expect that to turn around.

"For the colleagues of the store, we are committed to fairness. We have provided significant notice, generous compensation, extended assistance programs, and the prospect of employment opportunities within our network of stores, wherever possible."

There's no word on the future of the property, which is along a busy stretch of North Road, where many new developments are under construction.

In 2018, a pre-application notice contained in a City of Coquitlam development snapshot proposed re-developing the property for mixed commercial and condo towers for as many as 1,688 units, including 200 rental apartments.

However, the city has confirmed in an email to the Tri-City News that it has not received any formal application for redevelopment of the mall.

"We have had an enquiry from an agent for the property owner seeking information about the current zone and permitted uses," stated Jim Bontempo, manager of building permits.

The property is currently zoned C2 for shopping mall use. 

Several shops in the mall located near the Lougheed SkyTrain station are already shuttered, but a number of shops and services, including a Return-It depot, LifeLabs, Great Clips, an RBC bank, a restaurant, a dance shop and a hair salon remain open.