A press release emailed Friday, Oct. 5, was addressed to Elkhorn and area Members of Twin Valley Co-op Ltd. explaining that Twin Valley is closing Elkhorn Home Centre.
The announcement reads:
“The Board of Directors and Management of Twin Valley Co-op Ltd, after much consideration of all options, have made the decision to close the Home Centre in Elkhorn effective January 31, 2019. While some of the current merchandise mix will be moved to the Food Store, the Home Centre building and fuel facilities will close.”
The notice states it was a difficult decision that was made in order “to sustain a retail presence on Richhill Avenue.
“By closing the Home Centre and moving some of the current product mix to the Food Store, it is our hope this can be accomplished. The newly combined Elkhorn Food and Hardware Store will open on February 1, 2019.
“We deeply appreciate the support of our Elkhorn members, as well as the efforts our staff have made to serve you. With this consolidation of retail space, we hope that our community presence and contribution will continue to remain sustainable for years to come.
“We understand the impact this will have on our valued employees, and we will be working to reduce the impact of this change, and to provide assistance to those who will not stay on.”
Matter in council
This sudden announcement has been on the minds of Elkhorn area residents over the weekend and was brought to the RM of Wallace-Woodworth Council meeting, Tuesday, Oct. 9.
Councillor Sandy Heaman, who requested it be put on the agenda, stated, “It is another business closing in Elkhorn, the fourth one in a year.”
She said the community was not consulted. “I suspect they have a long list of business reasons for doing it. What is disappointing, they did not approach us.”
Councillor Clayton Canart, an Elkhorn resident and member of Elkhorn District Chamber spoke up saying that it is the community’s place to come together and respond to this announced closure of services.
He said “I talked with the GM, different board members… I voiced my concern at the way things were handled.”
He was told that Twin Valley representatives would attend a public meeting, if one was called. “Hopefully if we do have a public meeting…it will be a constructive conversation.”
Twin Valley received a call from Elkhorn area businessman and Chamber member Mark Humphries. In an interview Humphries pointed out that this seemed like a sudden move.
“Why did they put in new flooring in the store six months ago, and new shelves, if the writing was on the wall?” he said.
Twin Valley’s Elkhorn board member Denis Lachapelle said the closure wasn’t exactly unexpected. “We’ve been monitoring all the stores, with the economy the way it’s going, with the oil slowing down. It affects what happens in a small town.”
Lachapelle downplayed the impact on the community saying it was the slow-moving product that was dropped.
“The only thing that might hurt here, we won’t have any gas here. Other than that, the stuff that was moving before will still be accommodated. It’ll be over at the food store.”
Lachapelle confirmed that cosmetic changes were done in 2018. “Stuff was moved around, there was some painting done inside. There wasn’t a whole lot of money spent on it.”
He said there had been prior cut-backs; the closure wasn’t a surprise. “How it’s going to be done, all the decisions are not finalized.”
About Twin Valley Co-op Ltd.
Twin Valley’s administration office is in Birtle with retail locations in Russel, Rossburn, Birtle, Miniota and Elkhorn.
It is member-owned; profits are returned to the members and stay in the local economy.
In 2018, $2 million was allocated to the members, with $1.2 million in cash paid back to members.