PEI

Co-op sale to Sobeys could benefit O'Leary

The O'Leary Farmers Co-op in western P.E.I. could benefit if Co-op Atlantic sells its grocery and gas business to Sobeys, says the store's general manager.

Delegates to vote on Sobeys - Co-op deal Tuesday

Co-op delegates will vote on the deal with Sobeys Tuesday. (Google Street View)

The O'Leary Farmers Co-op in western P.E.I. could benefit if Co-op Atlantic sells its grocery and gas business to Sobeys, says the store's general manager.

The proposed deal would see the Co-op wholesaler and corporate-owned stores go to Sobeys.

O'Leary is one of five independent, member-owned Co-ops on P.E.I. that have, up to now, been buying products from Co-op Atlantic's wholesale business.

Darren MacKinnon told CBC News his store will not be required to buy from Sobeys if the deal goes through. He is exploring a number of wholesale suppliers to see which would offer the best buying power for the future.

MacKinnon said the Co-op Gold Brand would disappear from the stores, but he doesn't believe much else would change.

"We're still independently owned by our membership. That would not change. We're still O'Leary Farmers Co-op. That would not change. And we're still going to offer great service and great products in our community to help service our members. That wouldn't change," said MacKinnon.

He said buying local products will continue to be a priority if the sale goes through.

O'Leary Co-op employs more than 40 people and serves about 2,600 families in West Prince.

Delegates from across the region, including four from the O'Leary Co-op, will vote on the Sobeys sale this coming Tuesday.

Co-op Atlantic has confirmed four of nine corporate Co-op stores will not be included in the Sobeys deal. The fate of those stores will be determined if the deal is approved.

There are three corporate Co-ops on P.E.I.: Walker Drive and Queen Street in Charlottetown, and the store in North Rustico.

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