Save-On-Foods store manager Bruce Brown stands in front of the new building

Save-On-Foods store manager Bruce Brown stands in front of the new building

New Save-On-Foods opens Feb.14 in Parksville

Store officials thank customers for their support, understanding during construction

It didn’t move far, but Save-On-Foods’ shiny new building feels like a different world.

Store manager Bruce Brown said it will be the company’s flagship store in B.C., toting all the “latest and greatest innovations” in the grocery store industry, from energy-efficient refrigeration systems to oven roasted pizza, made on site, of course.

Brown gave The NEWS a tour of the new store, where dozens of people were busily setting up displays, stocking shelves and learning the ropes of a new building.

“I’ve personally been waiting six years to see this,” Brown said, looking around at the bright new store, neatly lined with  aisles perfectly arranged with new products.

The store will open to the public on Valentine’s Day.

He said the new building, at 42,000 square feet, is 5,000 square feet bigger than the former store. He said it will create more than 50 additional jobs.

The space, he said, will help expand their fresh food market.

Brown said he’s most excited about the store’s in-house kitchen, which is the first on Vancouver Island for the company. It will offer a specialty salad bar, handcrafted sushi and decadent homemade cakes, among the many other tasty treats the on-site chefs come up with.

Meanwhile, the new store has more of a focus on local products — something Brown said is increasingly important to shoppers in this day and age.

The new Save-On-Foods even has a rack specifically designated to local products, boasting things like Fireweed honey and Catie’s pickled garlic.

And the refrigeration technology is as green as can be.

Brown said the fridge system includes motion sensors that light up when people walk towards them, which saves energy and keeps food much cooler.

Brown said he’s helped open a lot of Save-On-Foods stores in his career,so the chaos of construction isn’t new to him.

But Parksville’s store, he said, has been smooth sailing.

“This one has been pretty good,” he said. “We’re ahead of schedule.”

Brown said staff has been busy setting up the new store, noting absolutely nothing from the old store will be carried over.

The old store will shut down Thursday, Feb. 12 at 6 p.m. The new one will open Saturday, Feb. 14 at 8 a.m.

“We really appreciate all of our customers’ support,” said Brown.

“We understand it has been a tough few weeks.”

Brown  said the wait has been long, but he’s excited to be part of opening a “fantastic” new store.

“We’re excited to open, to serve the community and to continue giving back to the community,” said Brown.

Save-On-Foods is located at 826 Island Highway West in Parksville in the Wembley Mall complex. The new store will continue to operate the same hours  — 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. every day of the week. For more information, call 250-248-8944.