Supreme Basics has announced it will be closing down its Altona branch facility sometime next year, putting about 24 people out of work.
The company says the decision not to renew the lease at its 6th Street NE location is part of a plan to focus its energy and investments at its distribution centre in Regina, Saskatchewan.

"Essentially it's a decision that is made by the ownership. We came under new ownership about a year and a half ago and it's really a part of a reorganization and restructuring process that the owner is taking us through. It is strictly a business decision that has absolutely no reflection on the quality of work or the people that are working here," said Elroy Martens, general manager of operations for Manitoba and Northern Ontario.
The office product supplier has been operating in Altona for the past 16 years under the Supreme Basics name, but its roots in Altona run much deeper than that, according to Martens.

"It goes back to the early days of D.W. Friesen and Sons. It was a business that was part of that organization back in the early 1900's, so it has been a part of our community fabric for a long time and it's very disappointing to see that come to an end, and yet it is a sign of the way our world is working."

In a news release issued on Friday, September 15, the company indicated that the closure of the Altona branch will create a number of efficiencies for Supreme resulting in lower overall facility costs, a reduction in total inventory investment, an improvement in fill rates and an increase in productivity.

The company will continue managing the orders in Altona until the end of April, 2018, allowing some time to wind up the inventory and equipment within the facility.

"It's the employees that are top of mind at this point in time, to ensure that they are taken care of, and that they have the time needed to absorb this message. Hopefully in the days and weeks to come, things end up looking a little brighter for them as they discover other opportunities and new places of employment," said Martens.

Martens said some employees will be offered the opportunity to relocate to Supreme's other locations in Canada.