New grocery store receives warm welcome from Ottewell residents

A new grocer has opened up to a lot of excitement in the community surrounding the new store. Many people, especially those with limited mobility, struggled the past two years since the previous tenant closed.

"Adults are excited like children at a carnival about a grocery store."

The newly opened No Frills location in Edmonton's Ottewell neighbourhood. (Craig Ryan/CBC)

An east Edmonton community is buzzing with excitement over a new grocery store in the area.

It's been two years since the previous food store in the shopping complex at 90th Avenue and 60th Street closed. 

Carol's No Frills opened its doors Friday in Ottewell and there was a steady flow of shoppers in and out. 

Shoppers line up to get in to No Frills on opening day. (Craig Ryan/CBC)

It had become more challenging for residents, especially those with limited mobility, to get their basic groceries since the previous tenant closed.

Lesley Gruhn, who lives in the area and co-owns Anvil Coffee House in the same shopping complex as the new store, said the opening has been like a light at the end of the tunnel. 

"We have a lot of hope sort of tied into this," Gruhn said.

"But we also recognize we try not to get our hopes too high. Just the buzz in the neighbourhood of people constantly asking when this is opening. Adults are excited like children at a carnival about a grocery store ... but it's so good."

Gruhn says they expanded their own cafe hours in anticipation of an uptick in business. That anticipation is also shared by other businesses in the area, Gruhn said, adding that they are all happy to see a tenant back in the space. 

Lesley Gruhn lives in the area and co-owns Anvil Coffee House in the same shopping complex as the new store. (Craig Ryan/CBC)

"For people to have a walkable grocery store is amazing," Gruhn said. "The big sort of anchor store that is in most complexes has been missing for us for two years. So we're really excited."

The city is preparing to begin some neighbourhood renewal projects in Ottewell in 2023. That could include roadway repairs, sidewalk work and other projects that are meant to improve how people can move around the community and use public spaces.

A woman and two children were seen making their way to pick up their groceries from the new No Frills in Ottewell. (Craig Ryan/CBC)

Gruhn calls Ottewell, a community in transition. She says there are a lot of young families moving into the area, but there are also a large number of senior residents that will use the store. 

Karl Hoffman is one of them. He said he and his wife are excited to have the option to leave the car at home.

"We only live two blocks from here and [my wife] loves going for walks," Hoffman said. "She's been waiting for a year so she can shop here since it's a lot closer than the other stores."

Karl Hoffman is happy to have a grocery store within walking distance of his home. (Craig Ryan/CBC)

The grocery store is owned by Carol Olsen who said on Facebook that she grew up in the neighbouring community of Gold Bar and feels like she is back home. 

With files from Scott Stevenson