Food Retailer Marché Leo’s Plans Expansion with 3 Toronto Store Openings, Including Waterfront Flagship [Interview]

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Marché Leo’s, a growing food and grocery retailer, is scheduled to open three new locations in Toronto – in the Corktown, Waterfront and Dundas areas.

Mona Randhawa, Director, Sales & Marketing, said the company’s mission is to bring people together through tradition – offering fresh produce, local Ontario roasted coffee, sustainable meats, everyday grocery, and a wide variety of family friendly meals.

“Our foods pay homage to traditional food culture with emphasis on old world quality and rich flavours. We’re the place you go to when you want homemade in small batch from quality ingredients. We look for quality alternatives across the board, and aim to create a full-service market experience with access to local artisans, craft foods, truly fresh meal solutions, and nostalgic products that play an important role in everyday living and wellness,” she said.

It opened its first store in the Davisville community in 2011. Today, it has four locations – two regular stores in North York and Kitchener and two express stores in Atrium on Bay and Eglinton in Toronto. 

Marché Leo’s Marketplace on Eglinton Avenue East (Image: Marché Leo’s)
Future Marché Leo’s at 475 Front Street East in the Canary District (Image: Dustin Fuhs)

This year the company is working on two new locations and some renovations at two of its existing locations – Eglinton and North York.

Its location at 475 Front St E (Canary District) is intended to open during the Fall. Then shortly after that is the launch at 4208 Dundas St W (Etobicoke). The company’s flagship location on the Waterfront at Merchant’s Wharf is expected to open Summer 2024 in about 40,000 square feet with its largest market kitchen – including a number of food installations and ample seating for locals to mingle while their meals are prepared fresh.

“We have already begun to branch outside of the GTA into smaller markets with success. There’s something to be said about the support in close-knit communities and we enjoy being a part of their plans for urbanization. We have always been very involved in the communities we operate through local events, food banks, sponsorship, and other joint initiatives,” said Randhawa.

Bayside Village Leasing Plan (Image: First Capital REIT)

Future Marché Leo’s at 90 Merchants’ Wharf in Bayside Village on the Waterfront (Image: Dustin Fuhs)
Future Marché Leo’s at 90 Merchants’ Wharf in Bayside Village on the Waterfront (Image: Dustin Fuhs)
Future Marché Leo’s at 90 Merchants’ Wharf in Bayside Village on the Waterfront (Rendering: Marché Leo’s)
Bayside Village Rendering (Image: First Capital REIT)

“Whether it’s a Sunday night store concert or a fundraiser for charity, we take pride in being a piece of the community and we will continue to stay engaged and connected. As of recent, we are building up our online community to do the same, providing more value to our people and sharing more of what connects them.

“We are putting more focus on opening medium and larger scale store formats, to keep up with the needs of the modern household, and ensure they have access to the foods they want. We hope to create a destination where families frequent. Where you can not only get your household essentials, but you can discover and engage with new flavours, products, and other locals.

“We don’t have plans to go outside of Ontario in the short term. We have received some interest from other regions and the sky is really the limit. But I’d say we have our work cut out here being in the largest Canadian market.”

Marché Leo’s Kitchener (Image: Downtown Kitchener)

Key features of a Marché Leo’s include:

  • Over 10,000 products including a full assortment of grocery from local regions, Canada and around the world;
  • Demonstrations for new-to-market and trendy products;
  • Quality meats with a variety of local and health options, and signature house-crafted deli preparations; like its Oktoberfest and Jalapeño Cheddar sausages;
  • A large variety of fresh Grab & Go and takeout meals made from scratch daily;
  • A self-serve hot meal and salad buffet station; which has been a lunch time hit;
  • Stone-oven pizzas, sandwiches, and other chef-inspired cook ups from the market kitchen;
  • A fresh gelato and sorbet counter with seasonal flavours; such as Sicilian Blood Orange or Crème Egg around Easter;
  • A craft coffee bar with local Ontario roasted bird-friendly beans;
  • The Cheesecake Factory cakes, local treats, fresh baked goods and pastries; and 
  • Select locations also carry imported and locally-crafted beers, wines and non-alcoholic beverages.

“Our signature house preparations are developed around North American and internationally inspired foods. We are getting to appreciate cuisines and palates from around the world, heirloom recipes and foods with some value and history. It’s been fun getting to be a part of that and sharing it with our community,” said Randhawa.

The concept began as a gourmet grocery store offering a variety of chef-inspired meals, high quality meats and artisan products from Canada and around the world that were not exactly common at grocery stores at the time. 

“It’s always exciting when we get interest from customers across the country for a product that they can’t seem to get their hands on. It’s a sign there’s room for growth and people are still looking for more accessibility when it comes to food. We do our best to understand our customer and are building up to have what they’re looking for under one roof,” she added.

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. Mario was named as a RETHINK Retail Top Retail Expert in 2024.

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