Dara Getkate, a volunteer at the Oasis Outreach Society, stands in front of empty shelves inside the low-cost grocery store. Oasis shut its doors on March 21 due to a combination of high rent and lack of donations.

Dara Getkate, a volunteer at the Oasis Outreach Society, stands in front of empty shelves inside the low-cost grocery store. Oasis shut its doors on March 21 due to a combination of high rent and lack of donations.

Low-cost Oasis grocery closes

Manager of Langley store says donations have dried up, hopes to reopen

The Oasis Outreach Society low-cost food store in Langley City has closed its doors.

Sadie Potosky, the manager of the outlet, blamed a drop in donations, both in food and cash, that made it impossible for the registered charity to pay the nearly $4,000 a month rent for the store at 203 Street and Douglas Crescent.

“Our stock had been dwindling for awhile,” Potosky said.

The discount grocer opened the Langley store in 2013, offering items at 30 to 50 per cent of retail value to people with incomes of less than $20,000 per year.

The store had about 1,200 members.

“We do plan on re-opening,” Potosky told The Times, saying the charity is searching for less expensive premises.

Oasis also operates a discount grocery store in Chilliwack.

The most recent financial statement filed by the Oasis Outreach Society, available online at the Canada Revenue Agency website, shows the charity reported $386,525 of revenue in 2013 and expenditures of $286,548, including $245,755 on “charitable activities” and $40,793 on “management and administration.”

The Oasis shutdown comes less than six month after the rival Fair Share Food Services Society closed both of its Langley storefront distribution centres.

The Aldergrove store at 27117 Fraser Hwy. closed in September of last year and the Langley City store at 5765 203A St. closed shortly afterwards in November.

Society founder Kelly Fowler told The Times some suppliers stopped donating food and other products to Fair Share because of negative news coverage and lobbying by rivals.

Fowler said Fair Share would continue to collect food for distribution to local charities, but the non-profit had to abandon selling low-cost food to low-income people.

“We’ve had to change our direction because we’re under attack,” Fowler said.

“We’re not doing any retail.”

Fowler said the shutdown stranded 800 Fair Share clients.

Most of the controversy over Fair Share concerned a door-to-door food-collecting campaign called Operation Clean Out Your Pantry that dropped off paper bags with a note requesting donations of non-perishable foods and canned goods.

Food banks and charities in Abbotsford, Maple Ridge and Surrey objected, saying Fair Share was wrongfully claiming to have their support.

Before establishing Fair Share, Fowler was co-founder of the Oasis Outreach Society.

He was no longer associated with Oasis when he opened the Langley stores.

Langley Times