Local food store sold to Canada's Agora Food Merchants

Garden Valley Collegiate
Winkler, Manitoba

By Ryan Elias (Grade 12)

Rumors had been flying for many days already, and finally came the truth to this rumor -- Penner Foods, owned by Mr. Jim Penner, has been sold to Agora Foods (also known as IGA).

The deal, which must have been in the making for a considerable while, finally went through on May 25, 1998.

Local people are asking if this will this effect Winkler's Penner Foods. The answer to that appears to be that it will change, but the products will be the only main thing that will change. The sale to IGA will allow the store to stock a wider variety of goods.

"We will be able to compete with the growing economy," says Gina Bueckert, a Garden Valley Collegiate student and a part-time Penner's worker.

The sale will also allow room for expansion and new opportunities. Twenty-eight of the main office employees will lose their jobs, but all other employees will stay employed with IGA.

"The wages will stay the same," says Bueckert, or there may be a chance for a higher wage. The seniority will also stay the same as well and, like Penner's, IGA will offer benefits.

Agora Foods owns 1,400 stores across the country and had sales last year that reached $5.6 billion. Joining with this large company will bring many advantages to the store and to its customers. IGA handles a wide range of house brands. This may attract more people from neighboring communities to shop at the stores.

Although the Penner stores started off very small in 1946, its annual sales now exceeded $90 million. Mr. Penner thought it was a time for change, and it is a major change to expand into a large corporation like Agora Foods.

Winkler Penner's currently employs 25 students from Garden Valley Collegiate. Penner's has always been a very popular place for students to get job. These students are often asked to continue working with the store after graduation. From the students' point-of-view, the sale is a good change for the store and they are excited to see what the future will bring.

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