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Site plan approved for Apsley, Ont. grocery store gutted by fire

Family-run grocery store in North Kawartha Township will rebuild with more features than before
Bulldozer collecting debris from a fire that gutted a local grocery store
Sayers Foods burned to the ground last December (Sayers Foods:Facebook)

A site plan for the rebuild of Sayers Foods grocery store on Burleigh Street in Apsley, approved by North Kawartha Township on Aug. 10, promises less truck congestion, greater traffic visibility and more sales space—all while keeping the building to its previous size.

There will also be an outdoor seating/patio area for patrons and small garden centre and the new building will provide a second-storey mezzanine with office space and an employee lounge, together with two upper-level open decks to provide outdoor space for employees, according to the site plan accepted by the township.

Sayers Foods, the township's only grocery store, burned to the ground last December, resulting in long drives to the nearest grocery stores in Bancroft, Coe Hill, Buckhorn and Lakefield.

Jeff Sayers, a manager at the store and son of Brian and Diane Sayers who bought the building in 1976, could not be reached for comment, but in an Aug. 12 Facebook post in which he and North Kawartha Mayor Carolyn Amyotte shared a conversation, he said the construction completion date is not known, as it depends on the tender process and contractors' timelines.

"The contractors will bid on the job and then tell us when they can start and how long it will take, so we'll be able to share that soon, but we don't want to share it prematurely because we don't know for sure yet," Sayers said.

"We know where the building placement is going to be. It's going to be very similar to where it was before except it's going to be a little further back from the street. That will create more visibility on the corner which has always been a long-standing issue.''

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All the parking will go on one side now with the main entrance facing the direction of the Legion, Sayers said. Trucks will now come in a separate dedicated entrance.

There will also be a different door for access to a food service area, and in the front by the sidewalk, "there will outdoor seating where people can get some food or a drink inside and sit outside and enjoy it."

"Inside it's a similar square footage, but it's a much better use of space," Sayers said.

Amyotte noted that in just over eight months since the fire, the township, without help from any other level of government or agency, was able to streamline the process, "and all it took was a site plan agreement to get you guys going."

"Guess what, everyone? We are going to have a new grocery store. It's coming soon."

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