The closing of a west Quebec town's only grocery store because of a labour dispute has put people out of work and residents at an inconvenience.

Management at the Valu-Mart in Shawville said Saturday it had no choice but to close the store permanently after their final offer to end the five-and-a-half month strike was rejected by the union.

Shawville mayor Albert Armstrong said more than 10,000 people in the Pontiac region rely on this one grocery store.

"It's certainly devastating to the whole community; the region," he said.

The closest grocery store is almost an hour away, with the Giant Tiger as the only place to buy food in town.

"There's a lot of people where they just can't drive that far away," said Shawville resident Jean-Paul Malette. "A lot of people don't have a vehicle."-

Residents said their only store now covers the basics, but it doesn't quite make up for the loss.

"Giant Tiger's good . . . but I'd rather have a grocery store back," said Laura Sparling.

Furthering the problem, the Valu-Mart's 32 employees are now out of work, officially out of a job after being on strike since Dec. 3.

"I can't understand how people could vote against something when there are not too many jobs available in Pontiac County right now," said Armstrong.

The union said it hasn't been told formally the store is closing, and has no comment until it meets with its members.

They said they knew the closure was a possibility when they voted down what management said was its "best and final offer."

With a report from CTV Ottawa's Stefan Keyes