Twin Valley closing home centre at Elkhorn
October 16, 2018 10:29 am
Twin Valley Co-op has announced plans to close its home centre on Richhill Avenue, Elkhorn’s main street, in early 2019.
The Elkhorn Chamber of Commerce is organizing a community meeting for this Thursday, October 18 at 7:30 pm at the Elkhorn Elks Hall to hear from Twin Valley and provide an opportunity for questions.
“The Board of Directors and Management of Twin Valley Co-op Ltd, after much consideration of all options, have made the decision to close the Home Centre in Elkhorn effective January 31, 2019,” Twin Valley said in a statement. “While some of the current merchandise mix will be moved to the Food Store, the Home Centre building and fuel facilities will close.”
The statement continues: “This difficult decision was made in recognition of the local market conditions and the need to take the steps to sustain a retail presence on Richhill Avenue. By closing the Home Centre and moving some of the current product mix to the Food Store, it is our hope this can be accomplished. The newly combined Elkhorn Food and Hardware Store will open on February 1, 2019.
“We deeply appreciate the support of our Elkhorn members, as well as the efforts our staff have made to serve you. With this consolidation of retail space, we hope that our community presence and contribution will continue to remain sustainable for years to come.
“We understand the impact this will have on our valued employees, and we will be working to reduce the impact of this change, and to provide assistance to those who will not stay on.”
Twin Valley’s administration office is in Birtle with retail locations in Russel, Rossburn, Birtle, Miniota and Elkhorn.
Need for store seen
“I do feel we have a need for the co-op and the business to support it,” Elkhorn Chamber of Commerce president Samantha Cluett said Thursday. “My shop is located across the street and I can see the traffic going through their door.”
She said she fears the effect of the closure on the community.
“Removing another business from our community is going to hurt us,” she said. “That affects our Main Street and it gives people another reason to leave town. Let’s face it—nobody likes to pump their own gas. A full service gas station is crucial to our community. I understand the hardware will still be available but we are losing products that appeal to farmers and anybody who fuels their vehicle.”
She said Elkhorn’s Chamber of Commerce will work on a “Support Local” initiative to try to encourage people to support local businesses.
“Our Chamber is a small group of volunteers and we are working hard to grow our numbers to be able to better serve our business community,” she said. “We encourage all business owners to attend our meetings. If we can all work together to create a ‘support local’ movement we can prevent other businesses from leaving town. We need to support our own and keep them in our community. These are our friends and family, our neighbors that are affected when we leave our community to shop.
“As a business owner I don’t believe this situation was handled correctly. If they noticed the decrease years ago, head office should have stepped up and addressed the situation and taken preventative steps to improve their numbers. Staying on ‘trend’ and offering the consumers what they are looking for is huge. Take a look at your inventory and listen to your customers. Look at the situation as a whole and be involved in your business. Communication is huge, communicate with your community. Head office should have come to us as a community years ago and had the conversation with us: we are losing money. What can we do?”
She said she is hoping for some genuine communication at the meeting this Thursday.
“We hope to host our chamber meeting with Twin Valley in a controlled environment to discuss this decision and seek clarity on the situation. A change of heart would be the ideal outcome with the community coming together to continue supporting the co-op hardware store. I do understand that business is business and they may not financially be able to reverse their decision, but I do hope we are able to accommodate our community, answer their questions and move forward as a community in whichever direction that may be. The goal of the meeting is not to attack Twin Valley but to come together to understand their decision and give us the opportunity to communicate with them.”
People in Elkhorn with questions about the planned closure can talk to Samantha Cluett at Samantha’s Boutique or email a question to firstname.lastname@example.org and the chamber will bring the questions up at the public meeting.
Loss of several businesses
Mark Humphries of the Elkhorn Chamber of Commerce said the planned closure comes after the loss of several other important businesses in the community.
“As soon as you start losing one business, it affects other businesses,” he said. “We lost the bank, we lost Autopac and the insurance office, we lost DAD’s Repair, and now this.
“We fought for the bank to no avail. A lot of us moved our banking to Moosomin, some moved to Virden. While there some people are doing their grocery shopping, etc. —maybe that led to this.”
He said that Twin Valley plans to move some items from the home centre to the grocery store and the Agro Centre.
“They’re keeping two of their three locations in Elkhorn, trying to make it work. We can be thankful for that. Hopefully this meeting can bring some clarity to the community. It will be good for people to hear it straight from the horse’s mouth.”
He said the chamber is trying hard to promote Elkhorn, and sees lots of potential for the community.
“It’s very frustrating to lose a business like this, especially the people on main street,” he said.
“We’re trying our best as a chamber to promote the community with the events we put on.
“We see some new services coming in—Bick’s Auto now has an OK Tire franchise. When you have people decide to pull out, it stings.
“That store was important to our community. Personally, we use it for our gas, we use it for our animal feed. People use it as a parcel pickup spot. No one wants to see it go.”