Marché de l’Outaouais in Gatineau, Que. faces the possibility of closing down thanks to slow sales and competition from large grocery chains.
The non-profit co-op has sold products from western Quebec for more than a decade, providing an outlet for small producers, CBC News reports. But sales have fallen from around $1 million to $500,000 in the past several years. Jean Bélanger, chair of the board, says that in addition to tough competition from the big players, the decision to switch locations also played a role in impacting sales.
Marché de l’Outaouais was forced to leave the downtown core location in 2014 as it wasn’t easily accessible for users. In 2016 the co-op moved to a new location in Old Hull, where traffic is higher but rent is too. At the same time, Bélanger says, large grocery chains started to sell the same kinds of local products that Marché de l’Outaouais specializes in.
To turn the tide, Bélanger has communicated with co-op members, asking them to work as “ambassadors” for the co-op. Marché de l’Outaouais is also making other changes, including expanding its range of products to include local beer, cider and wine, and launching a home delivery pilot program.
Photo: Marché de l’Outaouais