Quebec Grocer Avril Supermarché Santé Expanding with 1st Urban Concept Store in Downtown Montreal

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Avril Supermarché Santé will open its first urban concept in the heart of Montreal in June.

The supermarket will be located in Humaniti Montreal, a multi-purpose building located in the heart of the Quartier international, where the Quartier des spectacles meets Old Montreal. The merchandise in this 7,500-square-foot chain store will be similar to that found in other Avril supermarkets, namely a wide range of organic fruits and vegetables, grocery items, food supplements, and cosmetics. It will also feature a food service section and takeout.

“Our current locations are between 20,000 and 44,000 square feet. We will find the same categories of products there but with a smaller offering. We will have a large selection of fresh products, ready-to-eat meals, and a bistro with a dining room and a terrace. Our storefront will also have 10 underground parking spaces for customers,” said owners Sylvie Senay and Rolland Tanguay.

“For a long time, we have received requests to open an Avril in Montreal. We turned down several proposals until we were presented with the Humaniti project. The timing was good for us and the quality of the project, a LEED and WELL certified construction, corresponds to our values. In addition, it is very well located in the heart of the Quartier international in front of the Place Riopelle, between the Old Port and the Quartier des spectacles.

Images of Humaniti Montreal in downtown Montreal.
Interactive Google Map of Humaniti Montreal and the surrounding neighbourhood

“With this project, which will see the light of day in June and the opening in May of a new 44,000-square-foot location at Promenades Saint-Bruno, we will have a total of 10 locations. We will continue to expand, but we cannot confirm at this stage the cities where we will set up new locations. Two more locations are expected to open in 2022.”

Humaniti Montreal is a building constructed and managed by Cogir Real Estate. It features 152 condos, 314 apartments, a 193-room hotel, office space, and some commercial space.

Avril was founded in Granby, in 1995, by Senay and Tanguay. With its head office in Granby, the company employs nearly 1,000 people and owns eight chain stores, an online shop and a logistics and distribution centre in Quebec.

Tanguay and Senay bought an existing 1,500-square-foot store in 1995 specializing in natural and organic products.

“Today all of our locations offer fruit and vegetables, ready-to-eat, groceries, supplements, cosmetics and a bistro under one roof. In 2018, at our Laval location, we developed an automated vertical farming platform for growing microgreens. We grow these microgreens every day to supply our stores and make them available to our customers and in our bistros,” said the owners.

Avril Supermarché Santé Owners Rolland Tanguay and Sylvie Senay
Avril Supermarché Santé Owners Rolland Tanguay and Sylvie Senay

“It was in 2007 that we started our expansion. Avril is established in these cities: Granby (1995), Longueuil (2007), Brossard (2010), Lévis (2015), Québec (2016), Magog (2015), Sherbrooke (2017), and Laval (2018). We built and opened our Logistics and Distribution Centre in Granby in 2018 to accelerate our expansion. Our head office is located in Granby. With the opening of Montreal and Saint-Bruno, Avril will exceed 1,000 employees.

“We differentiate ourselves from traditional supermarkets by offering 100 percent natural and organic products. For example, 100 percent of our fruits and vegetables are organic and that department is Ecocert certified. Our stores are built in an eco-responsible way. The layout is designed to provide a bold customer experience with wider aisles.”

The owners said the ready-to-eat section is experiencing strong growth. In addition to an offering from different suppliers, the company adds to its offering from its team of in-house chefs working out of a central kitchen. It also has a large selection of products from its private label which are high-end, quality products at competitive prices.

With COVID-19 and restrictions in place with the hospitality industry, more consumers are cooking at home which is driving them to visit supermarkets more frequently.

“For some time, we had been looking for a site in downtown Montreal where we could open an Avril store. Humaniti was a natural choice.

This real estate project’s human approach is an ideal match to our philosophy which aims to provide a unique shopping experience that is aligned with the new consumer habits of Quebeckers,” said Senay.

“We are quite proud to welcome Avril in our building. Like Humaniti, where the rental portion aims to receive the WELL certification, Avril’s merchandise is designed to enhance human well-being,” said Jean-Marc Bélanger, Vice-President of Operations, Multi-residential division of Cogir.

“Humaniti defines itself as an Advanced Vertical Community in which its occupants live, work and play. We needed to have a grocer on site, but we wanted one which would be consistent with the spirit embodied by the project. Avril certainly meets that criterion,” added Joseph Telio, Vice-President Leasing at Cogir Real Estate’s commercial division.

Cogir Immobilier, a Quebec company founded in 1995, oversees the management of over 250 properties in Quebec, Ontario, and the U.S. It administers over seven million square feet of commercial, industrial and office real estate property and over 25,000 residential housing units, including a network of over 50 private retirement residences. The company also has extensive experience in the hotel industry.

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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