By Kathryn Stocks

The Beer Store at the Port Union and Lawrence plaza will be closing on September 12 and many people in the neighbourhood were sad to hear this news.

Jeanne Laverock posted about the closure on the West Rouge Residents Facebook page on August 6: “This move by the Brewers Retail Corporate is unacceptable and a slight against our community. This Beer Store has been an incredible support for our local students who are in need of community hours. Our children have participated in many of the community programs when the Beer Store collected returns on behalf of many special charity events, including the leukemia drive. Whether you drink beer or not, we need to rally together. Our community deserves a local beer store and a community recycling option. This decision by corporate diminishes us as a community.”

She recommended that members of the community contact Brewers Retail Corporate to protest the closure.

Several of those who responded to Jeanne’s post pointed out that the clock was ticking against small Beer Stores like this one since beer became available in grocery stores.

For John Turley-Ewart, who was at the store on August 23 to return his empties, it was a surprise to hear the store was closing. “That’s unfortunate,” he said, “especially with all the COVID things, you’re not crowded here.” John said he would probably go to the store at Cedarbrae Mall once the store in Centennial closed. Although the store at Morningside is closer, many find the parking awkward at that spot.

A statement from Ozzie Ahmed, Vice President Retail, had this to say about our inquiry: “The Beer Store is aware of some recent customer concerns about the convenience of locations to return empty alcohol containers and questions about the 5544 Lawrence Ave. East  store’s status, and where they can purchase our products.

“This store is closing on September 12. We appreciate that this location closure will impact some customers. There are multiple Beer Store locations across Toronto where customers can purchase our products and return their empties.”

The statement also noted that “all the impacted employees have been offered job opportunities at other area Beer Store locations.” They’ve always been a friendly, helpful group and much appreciated by area residents.