File photo

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EDITORIAL: Debunking a myth about Save On Foods and Princeton

If someone wants to start up a grocery store in Princeton, that’s okay

Every so often a newspaper’s job is simply to dispel a circulating rumour, squash a falsity or otherwise debunk local legend.

So here it is from town hall:

Save On Foods, and the Jim Pattison Group, have no agreement with the Town of Princeton that generally prevents grocery competition within the municipality.

It. Is. Not. True.

Nonetheless this idea seems widely believed, if you can judge by casual conversations and posts to social media.

Especially it gets repeated whenever someone complains on a local Facebook page about the prices at Save On Foods, or the selection, or anything about our local grocery store that irritated them on any particular day.

Someone inevitably chimes in to say the Pattison Group and the town have a longstanding non-competition agreement – that the town can’t allow another grocery store within its limits.

It. Is. Not. True.

Like with most rumours, there is a kernel of misread fact in their somewhere.

Decades ago, after the school on Tapton Avenue burned, the property was purchased by a Pattison company from the school district.

It was then parcelled up and sold to various interests and that’s where we get Valley First, our one strip plaza, and Dairy Queen. With those sales, there

were agreements the new owners could not set up grocery stores.


Pattison owned Overwaitea, which eventually became Coopers, and is now Save On Foods. More recently, the Pattison Group donated a large property

on Bridge Street to the municipality to host a community amenity.

The town hoped to use that land for an indoor pool. This looks increasingly unlikely with every failed grant proposal. A condition of accepting the property was that the town would not allow a grocery store to be built there.

Again, fair.

If someone wants to start up a grocery store in Princeton, that’s okay. Apparently all you need is a business license and…well…some groceries.

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