Anyone travelling through Elmira will have noticed the construction of a new Mac’s Convenience Store in the downtown core. Now, that work is coming to an end, as the store has reopened. Since August 2011 the store and gas bar have been closed as the old building and pumps were torn down to make way for a new larger facility. The store was temporarily relocated to a trailer located in the back-end of the existing parking lot near Walker Street, where customers have been shopping for the last nine months.
With this winter being so mild construction crews have been able to keep on track and the store re-opened for business on Mar. 8. “This is our store of the future concept and after all these months we are happy to be opening this to the public,” said Ryan Bedford, director of operations for the northern district of Mac’s Convenience Store. The original store and gas bar were located on the south end of the property; that space is now designated for the new gas station as the building has been moved to the north side. “The opportunity to do business here is good for us and the asset that we had here, that brutal little box that used to sit out where the gas station is now located was too small and too old,” said Bedford. “We needed to update it so we could provide our customers with the best.”
The store’s new retail space is 3,500 square feet and holds typical convenience store items, but it has a few unique features that will make it easier for customers on the go. “We are offering a few new programs in terms of what we did not have before, including new merchandise offerings, new programs in terms of coffee and food service,” said Bedford. “Subway is back as well, and will be offering their same quality service and product.”
The store will also offer a roller grill for hot dogs and a wide range of new products including milkshakes. There will be a patio built in the spring for Subway customers outside the front entrance. Residents of Elmira will notice a change at the gas station as well, as the Petro Canada pumps are gone, replaced by Shell. “What we had before were two small pumps that only worked about 50 per cent of the time. The new station is state of the art in comparison, offering six pumps with an all new underground tank and new canopy,” said Bedford. “This is not only an investment in terms of the building, pumps and underground but we are investing in the community and are offering a quality store with quality items.”
The addition of the new pumps will be welcomed to many in Elmira as the town has had only two fully operational gas stations for the last nine months. The lack of a proper storefront has hurt the convenience store over the last nine months as management has seen a 50 per cent drop in sales. “We were definitely down for our regular business operating out of the trailer for the last nine months. It was a significant drop,” said Bedford. “We are hoping that our past customers come back and enjoy the hard work that was done to put this store together. That is the ultimate goal.”
Response from the community has been positive, said George Buttigieg, market manager at Mac’s Convenience stores. “We have had a ton of people just waiting and waiting and waiting. Every day, people walk by and are looking into the windows to see how we are progressing,” said Buttigieg. “All our customers were asking, when they came to the temporary trailer setup, when would we be opening the new store? In general, the feedback of what they have seen has been great; they really like what they see.”
Landscaping around the store and sidewalks will be finished once the weather has changed from winter to spring. “We have to make sure winter is done before we continue with that but the store will be open and once we do get the sod down it will complete the package,” said Bedford.