APSLEY — After a series of delays, the long-awaited rebuild of Sayers Foods in Apsley will begin to take shape later this month.
Onsite work will start on May 16, grocery manager Jeff Sayers confirmed.
“The very first few tasks will include digging holes, installing services like a well and sewage system; fire suppression system. Then they’ll excavate. The substructure will go in in July. it will take several weeks between those tasks and getting the concrete and underground plumbing installed,” Sayers told The Examiner.
Apsley has been without a grocery store since December 2020, when a devastating fire destroyed the community’s lone source of groceries. The loss of the store dealt a huge blow to the village of less than 2,500 people, forcing residents to make long trips out of town for groceries.
Construction work, carried out by contractor Gay Company Ltd., is moving ahead despite ongoing issues with the store’s insurers. Insurers took exception to early designs of the new store, leading to months of “frustrating” delays that stalled the project, according to Sayers.
Sayers plans on entering mediation between the two parties to come to a legally-binding resolution.
Sayers Foods has secured the bulk of the building materials and about 90 per cent of the required trade labour, Sayers said.
While a firm completion date hasn’t been set, Sayers is hopeful construction work will wrap up in nine months.
In the meantime, Sayers Foods is moving ahead with equipment purchasing for the new store.
Peterborough-based Pan Oston will supply checkout fixtures. Arneg Canada Inc. has been tapped as the store’s exclusive supplier for hot and cold display cases.
The new grocery store is relying on a mix of local, regional and Canadian suppliers — part of an intentional effort to support homegrown businesses that have helped Sayers Foods in the past, Sayers said.
“We always want to support people in our network because they support us. We got a lot of support after the fire from people in our network of local suppliers,” he said.
While Sayers is optimistic about the rebuild, he still faces hurdles, including bringing in much-needed steel in a market plagued by delays and shortages.
Sayers said news of the imminent construction work has prompted “very positive responses” from the community.
“Everyone is urgently waiting for the store to come back. I think a lot of people are feeling the pain in different ways and this brings a bit of hope.”
Brendan Burke is a staff reporter at the Examiner. His reporting is funded by the Canadian government through its Local Journalism Initiative. Reach him at email@example.com.
Brendan Burke, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Peterborough Examiner