Neighbourhood grocery store closing after 85 years in Edmonton

The Wild Earth Foods grocery store is closing down after 85 years in businesses in Edmonton.

Wild Earth Foods to close its doors Saturday

Kay Fuchs is disappointed that Wild Earth Foods, where she has shopped for 54 years, is closing down. (Gareth Hampshire/CBC)

An Edmonton neighbourhood is losing its local grocery store after 85 years.

A sign outside Wild Earth Foods tells customers the store at 99th Street and 89th Avenue will shut down on Saturday.

"I'm disappointed," said Kay Fuchs, 89, a loyal shopper at the store since 1963. "I moved, but I'm still coming here. Because it's a great store and a great neighbourhood store."

Everything in the store is 50 per cent off until Saturday. But many of the shelves are already bare.
A sign displayed outside the store lets customers know the store is about to close.

"I came here for some meat and bread but there's none left," Fuchs said as she pushed an empty shopping cart through the aisles.

Employees said they weren't allowed to comment on the store's closure and said the owners were unavailable.

The future of Wild Earth Foods has been uncertain for some time. The owners of the buildings and property have a plan to redevelop the site into a 28-storey condo tower.

Family owned Bateman Properties, along with One Properties, are behind the proposal.

A letter from Michael Bateman was posted on the Strathcona Community League website on Sept. 19.

The letter said times are tough for independent grocers, given "rising costs, an old building and shrinking margins."

The buildings are at the end of their economic life, the letter said, and "there was no opportunity to renovate to modern standards."
Bateman Properties has plans for a 28-storey condo development on the property it owns on 99th Street and 89th Avenue.

Bateman said after listening to the community, as well as Coun. Ben Henderson and Mayor Don Iveson, the project has been redesigned with a new concept.

Wild Earth Bakery is expected to remain open at least until the end of December.

An open house showing the redevelopment plans is expected to be held later this year.