Grocery Market Concept L’OCA to Open 1st Location Near Edmonton with Plans for Multi-Store Expansion [Interview]


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A new grocery/market concept is launching in Sherwood Park, Alberta, just outside of Edmonton, with plans to expand the brand to other locations.

L’OCA Quality Market, an experience-based, artisanal market, will open its flagship store in Spring of 2024 in about 45,000 square feet.

“We’ll have the most comprehensive prepared foods offering in Canada with literally hundreds of items prepared by some of the best chefs in Canada. And our restaurants will deliver an exceptional quality experience that meshes with the offerings in our market,” said Josh Thatcher, President, L’OCA Quality Market.

“Our product offering will be a first of its kind combining scratch produced, unique, and everyday quality products made in house, from Canada, and around the world. The space and experiential environment will put our food artisans on display, be fun, engaging and reconnect people with the creation of amazing, fresh, artisanal food from scratch. In everything we are creating we have put the guest experience first and foremost and our amazing company culture really celebrates the ‘artisan at work’ and lands our team members in a place where they are excited to share their love in every experience. All this combines to bring a new, proudly Canadian, one-of-a-kind destination to the market.”

Image: L’OCA Sherwood Park

Thatcher said embedded in the experience is a full service market with a butcher shop, bakery, patisserie, coffee roasting, a full grocery assortment of the best quality products from Canada and the local environment as well as around the world, a massive deli, market style produce with many local options, and a specialty department that has cheeses from around the world.

Also, it will include two full-service restaurants (Pyro and Oro) which will be an integral part of the experience. Pyro is a casual concept with a wood-fired grill. Thatcher said it will be the largest one in Canada with seating around the cooking area where customers can interact with chefs as they’re preparing meals. Oro will be a modern Italian dining experience.

L’OCA’s tagline is ‘Do Food Differently’. The name means goose in Italian, bringing out a whimsical element to the brand. It also embodies the company’s philosophy as a throw-back to traditional food culture that it wants to breathe some new life into – the old world tradition for fantastic quality food.

Image: L’OCA

And the goose is a Canadian goose because the company is proudly Canadian in supporting national and local products.

“I’ve personally been working on this project for a year and half,” said Thatcher.

“The people of Sherwood Park are amazing people and it’s a great community. It’s a great location physically along the main corridor and the people of Sherwood Park and the community in Edmonton in general is under-served by our type of concept.

“We have an aggressive growth plan. Currently we’re quite advanced on our second and third locations but that’s all I can say right now.”

He said the plan is to expand beyond the Edmonton area market.

When asked how many locations the brand could eventually grow to, Thatcher replied: ”I’m not going to say that right now but it’s quite a few.

“There’s nothing like this in Canada and I dare say North America for what we’re bringing to the table. What will resonate with customers is everything we do is centered around the guest experience. So we plan to bring exceptional value to the experience of reconnecting with food on a new level. We’re breathing new life and bringing back to life in some cases the old world traditions of artisanal food, bringing it together in one spot so that consumers will enjoy reconnecting with food. Our mission is to make life delicious by bringing that joy, reconnecting people with that food experience and sharing the love really and putting artisans on display.

“So within the framework of the market everywhere we can you can see the production . . .  There’s a real experiential interaction that consumers just don’t have. And beyond that we are investing heavily in the guest experience by investing in our team members. L’OCA is going to be an amazing place to work and that allows us to connect with customers in a way that no one else is doing.”

Tofino chef Paul Moran, 2019 winner of Top Chef Canada and a former Michelin Star recipient, has been brought on board by L’OCA.

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.


  1. This is going to be out of this world, really looking forward to having something so diverse in Sherwood Park and Alberta, being from the United Kingdom originally I have seen so many shops/farm shops open in the U.K. with success, these are usually just outside the town or city and have lots of green space for kids and lots of parking for customers. There is one in the U.K where we originally come from that is called Mains Gill Farm Market, near Darlington Co. Durham, this place grew from nothing to something really special, with a beautiful Restaurant, Butchery, baking, fruit and Veg and a gift shop that even supports a lift to get you to the top floor with your wheel chair, if this place is going to be anything like this in the U.K. it will be one of the best in all of Canada. Hurry up 2024 as we are already there in our minds and tummies LOL
    Bev Turner


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