The landmark 49th Parallel Grocery store in Chemainus has been sold to the Penelakut Tribe. (Photo by Don Bodger)

The landmark 49th Parallel Grocery store in Chemainus has been sold to the Penelakut Tribe. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Penelakut purchases 49th Parallel General Store in Chemainus

Ownership takes effect in early February

The original 49th Parallel Grocery Store in Chemainus has been sold to the Penelakut Tribe.

Situated near the Penelakut/Thetis Island ferry terminal, it became known as the 49th Parallel General Store after the company’s new location opened in Chemainus Village Square. The sale takes effect in early February.

“The property’s been for sale for quite a while actually,” said Peter Richmond, president and chief financial officer of 49th Parallel Grocery. “We’re excited for Penelakut. We think it’ll be a good fit for them.”

The completion of the sale is a bit bittersweet for 49th.

After some 40 years at that location, “it’s the end of an era,” Richmond conceded. “Up to six years ago, it was our primary store.

“It wasn’t an easy decision. These things never are. We have a new store planned in Duncan. We need to reinvest in our grocery stores.”

The 49th Parallel also has another store in Duncan that used to be Bruce’s Grocery many years ago plus modern stores in Ladysmith and Cedar. The older Duncan location will remain after the new store is built there.

The General Store in Chemainus housed an extensive section for Tour de Rock Cops For Cancer garage sale items under the jurisdiction of Ron Neubauer that will have to be moved to another location.

“Tour de Rock fundraising, it’s been wonderful to do that from there,” said Richmond.

The Penelakut Tribe is working on a business plan for the store.

“Our plan is to continue to run a store there,” said band administrator Jim Chisholm. “We’re in the final stages of figuring out what we’re going to have in there.”

He expects it to be a combination of grocery, confectionery and convenience items.

The sale also includes the parking lot behind Chemainus Family Dental.

Chisholm said there’s a whole dynamic behind the sale for the Penelakut.

“Chemainus was traditional territory for the Penelakut,” he explained. “There is a historical tie for Penelakut to that area.

“As far as economic development for our island, we’re limited. We want to increase our economic depth and the place to do it we believe is right across from us in Chemainus.

“We’re going to have a footprint in Chemainus. Hopefully, it’s the first of many.”

Staffing issues are to be determined. Current employees could either remain at the store or take a position offered elsewhere with 49th.

“Nobody will lose any hours or anything,” said Richmond.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Cowichan Valley Arts Council is offering courses in drawing May through August 2021. (Submitted)
A&E column: Art is everywhere in the Cowichan Valley

What’s going in the Cowichan Valley arts and entertainment community

The CVRD introduces new app to contact residents during emergencies, a tool that chairman Aaron Stone says will improve communications. (File photo)
CVRD launches new app to spread information during emergencies

Cowichan Alert is a free app that can be downloaded onto smartphones, computers

A B.C. Centre for Disease Control map showing new COVID-19 cases by local health area for the week of April 25-May 1. (BCCDC image)
Vancouver Island’s COVID-19 case counts continue to trend down

Fewer than 200 active cases on the Island, down from highs of 500-plus earlier this spring

The Malahat SkyWalk will open to visitors in July 2021. (Malahat SkyWalk photo)
Malahat SkyWalk will open to visitors this July

Highly anticipated attraction will take guests 250m above sea level

FILE PHOTO
Editorial: Time to roll up our sleeves and pitch in

They’re just not quite sure they want to get a vaccine — yet

Protesters attempt to stop clear-cutting of old-growth trees in Fairy Creek near Port Renfrew. (Will O’Connell photo)
VIDEO: Workers, activists clash at site of Vancouver Island logging operation

Forest license holders asking for independent investigation into incident

Starting Tuesday, May 11, B.C. adults born in 1981 and earlier will be able to register for a vaccine dose. (Haley Ritchie/Black Press Media)
BC adults 40+ eligible to book COVID-19 vaccinations next week

Starting Tuesday, people born in 1981 and earlier will be able to schedule their inoculation against the virus

Parks Canada and Tla-o-qui-aht Tribal Parks dig the washed up Princess M out from sand along the south shore of the Pacific Rim National Park Reserve. (Nora O’Malley photo)
Rescue attempt costs man his boat off Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

Coast Guard response questioned after volunteer responder’s speedboat capsizes in heavy swells

Al Kowalko shows off the province’s first electric school bus, running kids to three elementary and two secondary schools on the West Shore. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
B.C.’s first electric school bus making the rounds in Victoria suburbs

No emissions, no fuel costs and less maintenance will offset the $750K upfront expense

Road sign on Highway 1 west of Hope warns drivers of COVID-19 essential travel road checks on the highways into the B.C. Interior. (Jessica Peters/Chilliwack Progress)
B.C. residents want travel checks at Alberta border, MLA says

Police road checks in place at highways out of Vancouver area

Victoria police say the photo they circulated of an alleged cat thief was actually a woman taking her own cat to the vet. (Black Press Media File Photo)
Photo of suspected cat thief released by Victoria police actually just woman with her pet

Police learned the she didn’t steal Penelope the cat, and was actually taking her cat to the vet

The Canadian Coast Guard icebreaker Louis S. St-Laurent sails past a iceberg in Lancaster Sound, Friday, July 11, 2008. The federal government is expected to end nearly two years of mystery today and reveal its plan to build a new, long overdue heavy icebreaker for the Canadian Coast Guard. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Vancouver, Quebec shipyards to each get new heavy icebreaker, cost remains a mystery

Vancouver’s Seaspan Shipyards and Quebec-based Chantier Davie will each build an icebreaker for the coast guard

Findings indicate a culture of racism, misogyny and bullying has gripped the game with 64 per cent of people involved saying players bully others outside of the rink. (Pixabay)
Misogyny, racism and bullying prevalent across Canadian youth hockey, survey finds

56% of youth hockey players and coaches say disrespect to women is a problem in Canada’s sport

Most Read