Planet Organic is closing all locations across Canada
Planet Organic Market, the Canadian Trader Joe's-esque health food chain founded in Edmonton in 1993, has suddenly ceased operations across the country this week.
The family-owned supermarket most recently had 11 locations across the country, the majority of them located in Calgary and Edmonton, with one in Vancouver and one in Mississauga, Ontario (which suddenly closed last month, along with one Calgary store).
It used to have an additional location on the East Coast, which was sold back in 2013 and became Organic Earth Market, a store that will remain in business.
CEO Alan Thompson recently sent a letter to employees stating that the team "tried to find a solution for the company," but that "it has come time to recognize that despite the best efforts to restructure the business, we are at an end."
The emotional statement continues: "After conducting a full review of our current financial state, we conclude that there were too many factors working against us to continue operating Planet."
Yes, it was expensive. Yes it had pallets upon pallets of cider vinegar as you walked in the back door. But it was a street builder in my opinion.— Tim Querengesser (@timquerengesser) March 4, 2020
The grocer had an ethos rooted in health- and environmental-consciousness, stocking wholesome natural foods, health supplements, plants, niche brands for those with dietary restrictions and local products from Canadian farmers and manufacturers.
It also ran talks and other events for its customer base, which it referred to as "Planet People."
Unfortunately, it seems that financial woes had been present at the small chain for some time — a number of suppliers cited that Planet owed them amounts totalling more than $200,000 in fall 2019.
Customers have also been commenting on the company's Facebook page with complaints of limited product variety and empty shelves, which Planet officially attributed to "significant supply challenges," according to CTV News.
Still, the company was still trying, and just opened a new Calgary location in November. Based on some online conversation about the store, it seems that the high price point of its product may have been one of the roadblocks to its success.
In the memo to staff, Thompson promised that all outstanding pay will be sent out. But, as CTV points out, it is unlikely that creditors will receive the large sums they are owed.
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