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New Metro Plus Centre-ville opens in Lac-Mégantic

Rebuilding after train tragedy, the grocer launches larger downtown location

In a symbol of healing, a new Metro Plus Centre-ville de Lac-Mégantic has opened its doors in the town of 6,000 people that was the scene of the most deadly rail accident in modern Canadian history a mere 15 months ago.

The 34,000-sq.-ft. store—7,000 square feet larger than the one it replaced—celebrated its rebirth with special promotions and a flyer printed with a flap customized for the region.

The new store cost approximately $12 million, said a statement from Metro.

The grocer is in the new Fatima downtown district. The former downtown was obliterated by the fire that killed 47 people early in the morning of July 6, 2013 after 72 oil tankers exploded when a train left unattended rolled through downtown and derailed.

The new supermarket has seven cash registers and one express cash and will employ 125 people, 85 of whom are from the original store.

The store includes a sushi counter, bistro, meat department and puts an emphasis on local produce. There is also an in-store chef that prepares ready-to-eat meals.

The store and the new downtown district were built in cooperation with the city, said Christian Bourbonnière, Metro’s senior vice-president, Québec division. According to Metro, the new Metro Plus Centre-ville is the first business to open in the rebuilt downtown.

"For us, it was essential that we continue serving the Lac-Mégantic community and open as quickly as possible,” he said.

Senior partner, Philippe Valiquette, said, "Over the past 15 months, not a day has gone by that I haven't been asked when we would reopen. Now I can finally say, it's mission accomplished!"

The Valiquette family has been in the grocery business in Lac-Mégantic for more than 30 years.

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