Semiahmoo Centre's grocery store changed from a PriceSmart to Save-On-Foods location on Feb. 14.

Semiahmoo Centre's grocery store changed from a PriceSmart to Save-On-Foods location on Feb. 14.

Semiahmoo PriceSmart reverts to Save-On-Foods

Switch of branding in South Surrey seen as beneficial to both customers and union employees

The PriceSmart Foods store at Semiahmoo Shopping Centre is a Save-On-Foods once again, in a move heralded as a win-win for both customers and union members.

The changeover to new signage was completed as of Friday, part of a corporate move that transformed a total of 11 PriceSmart locations in B.C. – virtually overnight – to the Save-On banner. (The South Surrey location had previously operated as a Save-On-Foods, and as an Overwaitea.)

A statement from parent company the Overwaitea Food Group says the renaming is part of efforts to strengthen the Save-On-Foods brand, while offering more selection and more specials.

Overwaitea spokesperson Julie Dickson Olmstead said Monday that noticeable impacts for customers of the renovated Semiahmoo store will be increased selection, plus “expanded options for natural, organic, gluten-free and local products.”

At the same time, retaining five Price­Smart stores – at the Fleetwood, Richmond, Grandview, King Edward and Coquitlam locations  – allows that brand to focus on what the company terms a  “low price platform with market-specific international food offerings.” In most of these markets, this translates to more food options catering to Asian-Canadian customers.

The changes are seen as good news for United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1518 members in the 11 stores who voted 94 per cent this month in favour of the switch.

Dickson Olmstead said that while the two banners operate under different labour contracts, “wages are not negatively impacted by this change.”

“Members will have increased job security and greater opportunity to reach a living wage…,” according to the UFCW website.

This month, Overwaitea also announced the purchase of 14 Vancouver Island stores owned by Sobeys – primarily under the Safeway and Thrifty Foods banners – which it plans to convert to Save-On-Foods stores.