Skip to content

Product shortage at Okanagan grocery stores, due to highway closures

Save On Foods was without produce Tuesday morning
A man reads about the produce shortage at Save-On-Foods in Kelowna. (Aaron Hemens/ Capital News)

It’s been a busy two days at FreshCo in Kelowna.

Customers are stocking up on various products after access between the Lower Mainland and the rest of B.C. was cut off due to floods and mudslides.

As of Tuesday, Nov. 16, there is no detour available or estimated time of reopening the major routes into and out of the Lower Mainland.

This has caused concern for those living in the Okanagan, many of who rushed out to stock their own shelves before the stores ran out.

FreshCo franchise owner Greg Frederick said, it is a bit of a panic when you see people lining up, but luckily he felt his store was prepared.

“We are facing the same challenges as every other store in the area, but rest assured we are well prepared and if we have to draw product it is possible we can from another place, like Alberta, we can,” he said.

But over at the Orchard Plaza Save-On-Foods, for example, a sign posted on the entrance door advised residents that no new produce could be received at the store on Tuesday due to highway closures. Inside the store, produce shelves were virtually empty.

Aisle at the Vernon Superstore. (Jenny Smith/ Vernon Morning Star)
Aisle at the Vernon Superstore. (Jenny Smith/ Vernon Morning Star)

READ MORE: Impacts of road closures being felt at Williams Lake grocery stores

Save-On-Foods media relations department responded to the lack of product in stores saying, at this time, all shipments in and out of the Lower Mainland are on hold based on the current road conditions.

“We are exploring all avenues to get product to our stores as quickly as possible. We’re asking our customers to maintain normal shopping habits. This will help our team members keep the shelves full for everyone. We understand that these are uncertain times and many people just want to do what’s right for their families.”

For Frederick, he will look to his partners in the east, however, the challenge in getting products to the Okanagan will be travel conditions out of Alberta on Highway 1 and through the Rogers Pass.

“We have a lot of product for produce, but our biggest focus is on the perishables and the dairy and the meat, that sort of stuff,” said Frederick.

As of Tuesday, there were no major issues on Highway 1 between Golden and the Okanagan. However, due to construction on the Trans-Canada, there is an extended closure in effect just east of Golden until 6 a.m. on Dec. 1. The extended closure is 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

For those planning on travelling between Golden and Calgary, a detour through Radium via Highways 93 and 95 will be required, adding up to 1.5 hours of travel time. Yet, travel on Highway 93 is not recommended at this time due to limited visibility and winter driving conditions.

READ MORE: Merritt residents fleeing floods evacuate to Kelowna

READ MORE: Areas of Kelowna still without power following storm


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Jen Zielinski

About the Author: Jen Zielinski

I graduated from the broadcast journalism program at BCIT. I also hold a bachelor of arts degree in political science and sociology from Thompson Rivers University. I was also a reporter for Castanet and CBC. I am a volunteer with Okanagan Humane Society.
Read more