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BRIEF: LL.Bean Opening in Halifax, Longo’s Ranked Top Grocer

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1
L.L. Bean Is Coming to Dartmouth Crossing

L.L. Bean at Dartmouth Crossing. Image: North American Development Group
L.L. Bean at Dartmouth Crossing. Image: North American Development Group

U.S.-based outdoor specialty retailer L.L.Bean is continuing with its Canadian store expansion with a location opening this year in suburban Halifax. North American Development Group (NADG) says that it is welcoming L.L.Bean to Dartmouth Crossing, with the new 15,000-square-foot store scheduled to open in mid-2021.

L.L.Bean will be Dartmouth Crossing’s newest retail tenant, joining a soon-to-open Playdium at the 518-acre commercial centre, featuring over 1.8 million square feet of retail shopping space, which includes the only IKEA east of Montreal. Plans for additional entertainment, lodging, retail, and commercial tenancies are in the works.

L.L. Bean saw three new stores open in Canada in 2020, bringing the current total store count to four, excluding the soon-to-be Halifax location. L.L.Bean’s first Canadian store opened in Oakville Ontario in August of 2019. That was followed by openings in Ottawa, Barrie, Vaughan Mills and at CF Shops at Don Mills in Toronto last year. Oberfeld Snowcap is leading the expansion which will see as many as 20 stores open in Canada over the course of a decade in partnership with Canadian distributor Jaytex Group.

The retailer launched its Canadian e-commerce site in the fall of 2018, followed by the introduction of a Canada-specific catalogue. Despite the pandemic, L.L.Bean sales in Canada have grown. E-commerce sales are up significantly compared to 2019 and the brand has seen a two-fold increase in first-time Canadian shoppers.

Exterior of Longo's store. Photo: Longo's
Exterior of Longo’s store. Photo: Longo’s

2
Longo’s Ranks as the #1 Grocery Retailer in Ontario

Connect4Commerce
Connect4Commerce

Longo Brothers Fruit Markets Inc. has been recognized as the number one grocery retailer in the 2020 Ontario Leger WOW study.

Leger surveyed more than 13,000 Ontarians across the province to find out how they rate their in-store customer experience. Each retailer was scored on 16 dimensions, including product offerings, pricing, service quality, store experience, personalization, and other factors including curb appeal and proximity.

The study revealed that customers consistently provided high rankings for Longo’s ambiance, product quality, check-out efficiency, curb appeal, customer importance, and staff courtesy. Customers surveyed reported feeling Longo’s stores are inviting and comfortable, and that they always trust they will find good quality products.

Overall, 145 retailers belonging to 20 sectors were analyzed in the WOW Study. Each grocery retailer was assessed by an average of 400 respondents who visited one of this retailer’s stores in the past month. Data collection took place from October 18 to November 23, 2020.

3
Alberta Entrepreneur Launches Initiative to Help Small Businesses During COVID-19

Alberta entrepreneur and business development expert Bruce Tannas is launching a new online marketplace to help small business owners and entrepreneurs connect, grow, sell, and learn during a difficult time — as up to 42,000 Albertan small businesses risk closure due to COVID-19, according to the Canadian Federation of Independent Business.

Connect4Commerce is an online platform for buying and selling everything from equipment to entire businesses. It’s intended to be a convenient place for entrepreneurs and business owners to find reliable business service providers such as accountants and lawyers, and features offices and buildings for sale or lease. The site is also a hub of helpful information and expert advice related to buying, selling and growing a small business.

“While there are other buy-and-sell websites, Connect4Commerce is the only one-stop-shop designed specifically for business-to-business interactions, making it more targeted and generating a highly engaged community,” said Bruce Tannas, CEO of Luna Media Inc. and founder of Connect4Commerce. “It is more important now than ever for small business owners to have serious buyers and potential clients at their fingertips.”

4
Kawaii Alley Opens at West Edmonton Mall

Farm Boy logo
Farm Boy logo

West Edmonton Mall has a new retailer: Kawaii Alley. The Japanese character shop is a family-owned business specializing in rare and popular items from Japanese cartoons, Animes, K-Pop, and more. The plushies, stationary, and accessories are designed for children, teenagers, and adults alike. This is Kawaii Alley’s first Canadian store and is located on Level Two, Phase Three of West Edmonton Mall, near the T&T Supermarket.

It’s an example of an independent retailer securing space in a leading mall, indicating some confidence in physical retail at a challenging time. Alberta hasn’t had the same lockdowns as some parts of Canada and as a result, some retailers are seeing strong in-store sales.

Recently, Retail Insider conducted a thorough photo tour of all phases of West Edmonton Mall. Splitting the tour into two parts due to the size of the mall, Phase One and Two can be enjoyed here and Phase Three and Four here.

5
Ontario-Based, Empire-Owned Grocer ‘Farm Boy’ Set to Open at Front & Bathurst This Week

Click for interactive Google Map of Front and Bathurst neighbourhood
Click for interactive Google Map of Front and Bathurst neighbourhood

Downtown Toronto is days away from the opening of yet another Farm Boy grocery store location. Due to open to the public on Thursday January 28, the Front and Bathurst Farm Boy (29 Bathurst Street) will span 33,400 square feet.

Shoppers will find the usual fresh farm produce, large organic selection, and a range of hormone-free meat and sustainable seafood that the brand is well known for.

The pizza, grill and sushi stations will be up and running, and self-serve areas like the hot bar and salad bar will now be handled by staff due to COVID-19 health measures.

It’s been three years since Farm Boy opened its first Toronto location in Etobicoke. This Farm Boy is now the third store in downtown Toronto, following last year’s openings at Yonge and Soudan and Bay and College. It marks the first of four stores scheduled to open in Toronto this year. Upcoming locations in 2021 include Harbourfront, Dundas West and Aukland, and Dupont and Christie.

Currently the grocer has 35 stores across Ontario, with complete expansion plans to add 11 more stores in the near future, focusing on both urban and suburban locations.

Flow Alkaline Spring Water.
Flow Alkaline Spring Water.

6
Canadian Company Flow Water Set for IPO Debut

Flow Alkaline Spring Water is announcing that the company will be going public with an upcoming IPO. Flow Water Inc. and RG One Corp. say that they expect that the transaction will be completed in the first half of 2021 — Flow is looking to raise a minimum of $65 million, of which $30 million has been committed from existing shareholders as part of a non-brokered financing. The remainder of the financing will be raised through a brokered private placement of subscription receipts of approximately $35 million.

Nicholas Reichenbach, Founder and CEO of Flow, stated “We are very pleased by the wave of enthusiasm we saw for our non-brokered private placement, which we ultimately upsized to $30 million. In the wake of this incredible financing round, we are ready to pursue our listing on the Toronto Stock Exchange, which we view as the first step in our life as a public company. We believe that this committed capital along with our entrance into the public markets will accelerate our growth through expansion of our omni-channel retail distribution and continued product innovation, and further strengthen our brand and competitive positioning as we aggressively target the large and rapidly-growing premium enhanced water and ‘better-for-you’ beverage markets, with our core premium alkaline mineral spring water, global award winning organic flavoured waters, and collagen & organic certified vitamin spring water infusions. ”

Flow is launching a 2021 spring and summer campaign featuring a host of celebrity investors including Shawn Mendes, NBA superstar Russell Westbrook, and Taboo from the Black Eyed Peas. Their goal is to drive mass awareness of Flow’s mission and vision and inspire the Flow movement across social media and marketing platforms, and reach consumers in all channels.

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