nesters closed 

Nesters can’t Function in the Junction By Paul Andrew It was a good idea that didn’t work because of the three words most retail outlets use to achieve the best possible results: Location, location, location. This week the Nesters convenience store in the Home Plaza at 1005 Alpha Lake Rd. in Function Junction will close after more than two years of operation. Initially, the idea was to offer bulk food and household items to customers wishing to cut 10 to 15 per cent off their regular shopping bill. But it soon became apparent to Brian Kerr and his son Doug that type of discount is only available with the big boys such as Cosco. Moreover, the store did not receive the walk-in business because it was almost hidden near the north end of a string of other retail stores in the plaza, all of which overshadowed by Home Hardware. Nesters Market at Nesters Road, across from the White Gold entrance, will now "absorb" the stock and employees from Function Location, Kerr said. The main Nesters Market, owned by the Kerr Family, Ken Beatty and Martha Heintzman, has been in its present location for 13 years. "Nobody in the company loses from this," Brian Kerr said. "I mean, it’s not a bankruptcy sale. And the employees there will be offered a job at the other location. My old store manager thought it might be a good idea so we gave it a good try. But to remain open, we would have to double the people using the store. Right now the average is 130 customers a day spending $4-$6 a day and it’s not enough." Kerr said one of the best deals at the store in Function, the coffee beans, was being virtually ignored and the price was the same as that at Nesters Market. And that trend was continuing. "If there had have been a bridge from the one side there, on Alpha Lake Road across the creek to access the parking lot beside our store, then we would have served all the customers on that side of Function. Now it gives us the opportunity to consolidate our store at Nesters and I plan to expand soon, from the 6,000 square feet to 10,000." Doug Kerr, who manages the dairy section at Nesters Market, said he worked the Function location for a time and tried to make it work, but the warehouse thing didn’t appeal to people the way it does at larger bulk shopping centres. "It’s unfortunate," Doug said. "The people it affects the most are of course the people who work in Function, and they go there for some lunch items, cigarettes, things like that. For the bulk sales at the warehouse, I think the variety of items just wasn’t there. It was a tough go but, if someone wanted to take it over all the facilities are in place," Doug explained. "And there’s a suite upstairs. The only thing we’ll need is the warehouse. Nesters’ general manager Bruce Stewart, who arrived in Whistler shortly after the Function location opened, said the three-day closing out sale that began Oct. 21 and runs until Oct. 23 will have some items up to 60 per cent off the normal price, and that will include some warehouse items. Stewart added the original Nesters Market is doing well. He said sales are up over last year and the market will soon offer on-line shopping for visitors to the valley.

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