By Kathryn Stocks

The Beer Store in Centennial Plaza is no longer closing, thanks to the tremendous efforts of Centennial resident Jeanne Laverock.

When Jeanne went over to bring her returns back to the store in early August, she noticed the workers were not their usual cheerful selves. She was told it was due to the closure of the store on September 12. When Jeanne asked one of the staff members if there was anything she could do, the reply was “I don’t think so.”

Undeterred, Jeanne reached out to the community through the West Rouge Residents Facebook page. She posted about the imminent closure and received a large number of comments. Most didn’t want the Beer Store to close. She decided a petition would be too slow so she took screen shots of all the positive comments that people had written in reaction to her post and sent them to Beer Store executives along with an email about the value of the store to this community.

“I expected a form letter or email back but I didn’t expect a phone call,” Jeanne said. She did indeed get a call from a district manager. He told her he had received her letter and what she wrote was valid.

She said they conversed for 20-25 minutes and she reiterated her points to him about their  incredible recycling program, the support the store gives our community with student service hours, its charitable giving from returned bottles and cans, and the fact that when businesses close, it affects everybody.  

“People didn’t understand that if you take that Beer Store away, everyone who goes in to pick up their beer or their ice or do their returns might also go to one of the local stores for their pizza,” Jeanne said. “Those businesses will be hurt because people are now going to another plaza like Morningside and they’re going to shop there. The closure would actually impact a lot of small businesses here.”

The manager agreed with her points and said he would bring it to corporate’s attention. “I honestly thought that’s the end of it,” she said.

So when the decision was overturned on September 7, five days before the closure, no one was more surprised than Jeanne. “I didn’t expect that outcome, to be honest. I’m really shocked they overturned it.”

She said the power of community saved the day, but it seems more like the power of Jeanne that saved our Beer Store.