The Planet Organic location on Quadra Street was one of 11 shut down across Canada. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

The Planet Organic location on Quadra Street was one of 11 shut down across Canada. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

Planet Organic closes all 11 stores across Canada, including Saanich Centre location

The company is in ‘massive debt,’ says one vendor still owed money

The Planet Organic chain has shut down all locations across Canada including the one in Saanich.

On March 3, the 11-store health food chain’s CEO Alan Thompson sent a letter to employees explaining Planet Organic will be “ceasing operations.”

He wrote that despite efforts to keep the company afloat, the time had come to admit that it was time to shut down.

READ ALSO: Clothes cupboards bare at Our Place Society

“After conducting a full review of our current financial state, we concluded that there were too many factors working against us to continue operating,” Thompson wrote.

He thanked staff for their dedication and emphasized that employees will receive any money they’re owed including vacation pay.

Vendors also received a letter indicating that the company is in “massive debt,” said Rula Sharkawi, CEO of My Little Chickpea – a Toronto-based Middle Eastern food supplier.

Sharkawi’s company is owed several thousand dollars and, after months of problems and unpaid invoices piling up, she filed a lawsuit in November 2019. However, according to the letter vendors received from Planet Organic, she can expect to only receive between seven and eight per cent of the original claim.

She added that it’s disappointing when a company publicly states its support for small and local businesses but acts differently behind closed doors.

READ ALSO: Tom Hanks and his wife test positive for coronavirus

“Many of their practices were not in good faith,” Sharkawi said, pointing out that vendors like her now have to deal with the outcomes of Planet Organic’s actions. She’s evaluating her options for moving forward with a lawyer.

The Planet Organic location on Quadra Street – the only B.C. location – has been shut down. On Wednesday morning, the lights were out inside and the open sign sat dark. Signs were posted at all entrances informing customers of the closure and thanking them for the support over the years. Calls to the Saanich location went unanswered.

One customer posted an open note entitled “Requiem for Planet Organic” on the front door of the Saanich location expressing their disappointment over losing the store.

“These doors had opened to a world that kept me motivated and inspired to eat, feel and look more healthy vibrant and alive,” Tamara Hernandez wrote. “I cannot express just how much poorer we will be as a community for the loss of this place.”

READ ALSO: Western Speedway hits the market

Hernandez added that the managers called to let her know about the permanent closure just two hours after finding out themselves.

A spokesperson for Hansbraun Investments Ltd. – the company that owns Saanich Centre – told Black Press Media in an email on March 11 that as Planet Organic is still a tenant, they are declining to comment on the situation.

Planet Organic opened in Edmonton in 1993 and operated 11 locations across Canada including four in Edmonton, five in Calgary, one in Ontario, and one in B.C.


@devonscarlett
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

devon.bidal@saanichnews.com

CanadaGroceriesSaanich

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

 

A Planet Organic Saanich regular was saddened to see the doors close permanently. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

A Planet Organic Saanich regular was saddened to see the doors close permanently. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)

Just Posted

(Black Press Media file photo)
Court-registered sex offender arrested for breach of parole in Langford

Cameron Ratelle returned to correctional facility after female youth approached at bus stop

Jerry Dyck plans to purchase a new RV to drive across Canada in, once it’s safe to travel again. (Courtesy BCLC)
Victoria man plans post-pandemic cross-Canada RV trip after $2M lottery win

Retired electrician bought the winning ticket in Duncan

Marc Porpaczy said he’s glad he delayed his daily walk with his dog, Juno, after a car crashed just outside his driveway just before 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 25. (Aaron Guillen/News Staff)
VIDEO: Dramatic crash highlights need for sidewalks, say Colwood residents

‘The residents have gone from frustrated to angry’

Crews with Discovery Channel film as an Aggressive Towing driver moves a Grumman S2F Tracker aircraft around a 90-degree turn from its compound and onto the road on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021. It was the “most difficult” part of the move for the airplane, one organizer said. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: Vintage military plane gets towed from Chilliwack to Greater Victoria

Grumman CP-121 Tracker’s eventual home the British Columbia Aviation Museum on Vancouver Island

Residents of the Cowichan Valley decorated more than 55 vehicles with anti-racist slogans for a car rally in support of Cowichan Tribes on Saturday, January 24. (Kevin Rothbauer/Citizen)
Dozens join anti-racism car rally and virtual panel in Cowichan Valley

Provincial ministry and BC Green caucus issue joint statement detailing concerns

Jesse Savidant, 31, is wanted by the RCMP after failing to appear in provincial court in Nanaimo in December. Police warn Savidant should be considered violent. (Photo Submitted)
Warrant out for man accused of stolen property offences across Vancouver Island

Jesse Savidant did not appear for court date in Nanaimo last month, say RCMP

Rolling seven-day average of cases by B.C. health authority to Jan. 21. Fraser Health in purple, Vancouver Coastal red, Interior Health orange, Northern Health green and Vancouver Island blue. (B.C. Centre for Disease Control)
2nd COVID vaccine doses on hold as B.C. delivery delayed again

New COVID-19 cases slowing in Fraser Health region

The Pacific Rim National Park Reserve is urging visitors to stay on designated trails after a hiker became injured in an unsanctioned area last week. (Westerly file photo)
Injured hiker rescued in Pacific Rim National Park Reserve

“Safety is everyone’s responsibility.”

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talk about the next steps in B.C.’s COVID-19 Immunization Plan during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Friday, January 22, 2021. Two more cases of the COVID-19 strain first identified in South Africa have been diagnosed in British Columbia, bringing the total to three as of Jan. 16.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. now has three cases of South African COVID-19 variant, six of U.K. strain

Both variants are thought to spread faster than earlier strains

Rodney and Ekaterina Baker in an undated photo from social media. The couple has been ticketed and charged under the Yukon’s <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> for breaking isolation requirements in order to sneak into a vaccine clinic and receive Moderna vaccine doses in Beaver Creek. (Facebook/Submitted)
Great Canadian Gaming CEO resigns after being accused of sneaking into Yukon for vaccine

Rod Baker and Ekaterina Baker were charged with two CEMA violations each

Police discovered a makeshift nightclub in a Vancouver apartment on Jan. 23, 2021, and say it wasn’t the first time this month officers have been called to the unit over social gathering concerns. (Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
Doorman of makeshift ‘booze-can’ in Vancouver apartment fined; police look to court order

This marks the fourth complaint about social gatherings inside the apartment in January

Local musician and artist Daisy Melville created a watercolour portrait of U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders from the recent American inauguration, and with help from her mom, is now selling t-shirts and more with funds going to the Comox Valley Food Bank. Image submitted
Island artist turns Sanders inauguration meme into art for good

All proceeds from the sale of shirts, sweaters and more will go to the Comox Valley Food Bank

Most Read