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Baskin-Robbins Continues Canadian Store Expansion with Major West Coast Growth Plans

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Baskin-Robbins recently opened a new shop in Oshawa, Ontario, its 106th location in Canada, as the brand continues to expand in the Canadian marketplace with big plans next for the Vancouver area.

Natalie Joseph, Senior International Field Marketing Manager for Baskin-Robbins Canada, said the company for 2022, 2023 and beyond has brought on a franchisee who is going to be developing in the British Columbia market, predominantly in the Greater Vancouver Area.

“This gentleman has just signed on a 15 store development over the next two to three years and the first shop is going to break ground in March with a planned opening of April or May,” she said.

Baskin Robbins at Village by the Grange
Baskin Robbins at Village by the Grange (Image: Dustin Fuhs)

“Then in Ontario we have a franchisee that is committed to opening 11 stores in the Toronto area, actually more in Mississauga. He’s just opening his second store of the 11, it’s already to go, they’re just waiting to get the green light from the city. That is tentatively opening the beginning of this month or the start of January.”

Currently, the brand has five locations in Vancouver.

“Years ago Vancouver was a much stronger market for us where we had a number of traditional stores and that just kind of went to the wayside over the years. I really don’t know why but we’re looking at it almost like a new market entry where there’s so much potential. That’s why we’re refocusing on the Vancouver market,” said Joseph.

“We just recently did this with Ontario as well. We opened it up. Invited franchisees to explore different locations, different areas we’re interested in growing and developing in.”

“We accomplished that. Now that we’ve secured a franchisee that is opening up 11 stores in Ontario that’s great. Now our focus is on Vancouver.”

The first Baskin-Robbins in Canada was opened 50 years ago this year in downtown Toronto at Eglinton Avenue and Bathurst Street and it is still open today.

Some may wonder how an ice cream shop can be successful in a northern environment such as Canada with its cold climate for several months of the year.

Joseph said she is often asked this question. The general mindset is lining up ice cream with warm summer evenings or that sunny Sunday afternoon on the way to the park.

“I have to say that when I joined the team almost eight years I too asked the question: How do our shops remain open through the winter months? Baskin-Robbins was a company that was born out of California so it sort of makes sense year-round,” said Joseph.

Image: Baskin-Robbins Canada

“What I quickly learned is that our cake business always has been thriving and January and September believe it or not are our two busiest cake months . . . What I learned quickly is that people still have birthdays. People still celebrate. People still want ice cream regardless of what the weather is like outside.”

Baskin-Robbins was founded in 1945 by two ice cream enthusiasts who shared a dream to create an innovative ice cream shop that would be a neighbourhood gathering place for families. Celebrating its 50th year in Canada, Baskin-Robbins operates 106 locations spread across Ontario, Quebec, Manitoba and British Columbia. 

More than 300 million people around the world visit Baskin-Robbins each year to sample from the more than 1,300 flavour creations available in its ice cream library, as well as enjoy its full array of frozen treats.

Article Author

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 National Business Journalist with Retail Insider in addition to working on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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