The unexpected closure of a Montreal suburb's lone grocery store is "just a horrible tragedy," the local city councillor says.
"It was so sudden," said Coun. Ryan Young, who represents Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, where the Marché Richelieu is closing its doors Sunday.
"We only heard about it on Facebook of all things yesterday, and today is its last day," Young said on Saturday.
The nearest grocery store is a 10-minute drive down the highway in Baie-D'Urfé, about four kilometres away and too far to walk, Young said.
He said the grocery store is closing because it went bankrupt.
"So many people that don't have cars rely on this store to do their main shopping," Young said. "I have close friends who are elderly, or who are disabled, or are young students — and all of them are in tears over this store closing."
Natacha G. Filion is one of the 25 employees who will lose their jobs once the store closes.
She said she found out the store was closing through a Facebook post, along with the rest of the staff.
For her it's about more than losing her job, since she also did her shopping at Marché Richelieu.
"This is a big loss for the community," she said. "It's really tied into the heart and soul. People come here, and they would talk. That's why I worked here, because it kept me close to the community."
Karen Holtgreve has been shopping at Marché Richelieu for 10 years and said the store had a nice, familial atmosphere and the staff knew most of their customers.
"The sad part is that a lot of people in this area don't have cars," she said.
"[Since] we don't know if something else is taking its place, a lot of people are going to be finding it extremely hard."
That's the case for Jean-Claude Nemet, who has no car and has been shopping there for 12 years.
"Now I'm going to have to rely on people to drive me," he said.
Others like Haotin Xu, an international student at McGill University's MacDonald campus, said they might have to start ordering their groceries online.
The Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue Marché Richelieu has ties to the Metro grocery chain, which Young hopes may step in to save it.
"We learned just 24 hours ago that the store was closing," Metro told CBC in a statement Friday night.
"It is unfortunate that the store's financial situation does not allow it to continue operating. On our side, it's too soon to tell, but we will look at all the options available."
But Young says his community simply can't go without a grocery store.
"There's something like 15,000 students that come into this place during the school year. There's tons of tourists that come here," said Young.
"There are boats that come here in the summer. Where are they going to go when they need to get a quart of milk, or something to make for dinner or snacks? We have one other depanneur."