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T&T Supermarkets Continues Aggressive Store Expansion Plans: CEO Interview

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T&T Supermarkets continues to expand its footprint across the country with the opening of a new location in Calgary as it “aggressively” looks for other opportunities to grow.

“In these tough times, it gives me great pride to be able to continue to expand our business to bring authentic Asian food and flavours to the south Calgary community,” said Tina Lee, CEO of T&T Supermarkets. “We will be implementing all of our industry-leading COVID-19 preventative measures in our new stores, so that customers and colleagues can shop and work at ease.”

New Calgary T&T Supermarket at Deerfoot Meadows

T&T Supermarket CEO, Tina Lee.
T&T Supermarket CEO, Tina Lee.

The new Calgary store, its third in the market, opened in the south part of the city at the Deerfoot Meadows shopping centre area. It is the company’s sixth store in Alberta.

Launched in 1993 in Vancouver, today T&T Supermarkets operates 27 stores in British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario.

Lee said Deerfoot Meadows is a wonderful retail power centre with synergies with the Superstore, Costco, Walmart and IKEA stores also located there.

Click for interactive Google Map of the Deerfoot Meadows area

“I think we bring a good diversity and a new product to that community and people have been looking forward to that. The south Calgary community has been looking forward to it for a long time. Customers in the south had a long drive before to our other Calgary stores (located in the northern part of the city).”

The new store offers a wide variety of fresh produce, meat, seafood, grocery items, and ready to consume Asian meals. It also provides customers the convenience of online ordering for store pick up, and fresh express delivery to home at www.tntsupermarket.com and customers can now send gifts to friends and families and enjoy contactless services in the COVID-19 period.

The south Calgary store has a wide assortment of fresh Asian produce, live seafood in tanks, custom cakes, and a variety of Chinese buns baked fresh in store every day. There is a wide variety of ready-to-eat meals to choose from, the self-serve hot table, noodle bar, sushi bar, or the grab n’ go section that includes BBQ meats, dim sum, and fresh juice. Customers can take the food home or eat in the dining area of the store.

The new store is also unique in terms of retail execution because the COVID measures put in place there were part of the design of the new store unlike having to force measures into existing stores.

When asked if there could be more stores for the Calgary market, Lee replied: “I think there’s more juice in the lemon. We’re very opportunistic when it comes to new locations in all the markets that we currently are.”

Lee could not confirm current store expansion plans elsewhere but did say “we’ve got a lot of irons in the fire”.

“I think we’re one of the very few retailers that are aggressively looking and have the runway for growth. There are several communities in the country where we don’t have a presence yet. So we’re very open, not just open, but I would say aggressively looking and very keeping a close eye on what’s happening with big box retail and any potential turn in them because I think we are a strong candidate to go into those spaces.”

Being an essential business, the COVID-19 has turned out to be beneficial for sales for the T&T brand across the country.

“Operationally it has been the toughest year in our history. In anybody’s history. Trying to keep our doors open, feed the community, keep our staff safe. For the first half of the year it was a tremendously difficult, expensive and emotional journey. But I do feel like we’ve won the trust and the hearts of our customers. That they feel T&T is a really safe place to shop and it has resulted in beyond our expectations over double digit growth,” said Lee.

“We are strong but tired. It’s a marathon. It is a marathon that’s for sure.”

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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