One Year Later, Fort Mac Save-On-Foods Reopens
By Katherine Ziolecki, Local 301 Representative
Over one year after the Fort McMurray wildfire, the downtown Save-On-Foods store reopened in August, and Local 301 members finally got to return to their home store.
The store was closed for over 15 months for a major renovation that was necessary due to the damage caused by the prolonged power outage and fire suppression efforts in last year’s wildfire.
Twenty members returned to work at the store, and 126 new members were hired. During the closure, some Local 301 members relocated to other parts of the province to take on positions at other Save-On-Foods stores and decided to make their temporary move permanent.
One of the long term employees who was waiting to return to her store was Connie Bonney, who has served as a CLAC steward for over 20 years. Connie is one of the employees at the store who also lost her home in the fire.
“After the loss of a home and your place of work, your whole life is turned upside down,” says Connie. “The return to my job and regular customers is the start to returning to normal while I wait for my home to be rebuilt.”
During the grand reopening, coworkers exchanged hugs with each other and greeted the regular customers they have gotten to know over the years. There was a sense of pride in the hard work and team effort that it took to reopen the store. Members were excited to be there when the doors opened.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony transformed an emotional time into excitement, optimism, and a renewed sense of duty. There is comfort in going to work every day, like a well-worn path that you have walked so many times. When life is happening around you, sometimes we rely on the familiarity of that path.
To our members at Save-On-Foods in Fort McMurray, Welcome Back!
To read more about Connie's story, and several other CLAC members who lost their homes, check out our feature article After the Fire.