Galleria Supermarket Embarks on Strategic Store Expansion Across Ontario, Targeting Key Urban Areas [Interview]

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Galleria Supermarket is in expansion mode across Ontario.

The Galleria brand is looking for potential sites of 3,000 to 20,000 square feet in markets such as Aurora/Newmarket, London, Markham, Mississauga, Richmond Hill, Waterloo and Toronto.

Matthew John Pieszchala

Matthew John Pieszchala, Vice President at CBRE Canada, which is representing the brand in its expansion, said the brand originally began as Korea Food Trading and has been around since the 1980s.

“Along with doing the wholesale to major grocery stores for Korean specific products they eventually ended up opening a retail store in Thornhill, Vaughan,” he said. “That store which was their first ever store has since closed and they opened another one in the same area (at Yonge Street and Steeles Avenue). That one actually got expropriated and we just helped them buy a plaza in the same intersection that they’re going to terminate the Toys R Us and put their new brand in,” said Pieszchala. 

“Started in the wholesale business, got into the retail business, Korean based products, they supply grocery stores and now they’re expanding their retail footprint across the province of Ontario to start.”

Galleria Supermarket (Image: Galleria)
Galleria Supermarket Oakville (Image: Galleria)

The brand has seven stores in southern Ontario. 

Pieszchala said the smallest store is 1,500 square feet with the largest being 35,000 square feet. 

“We’re hoping to do one to two (new) stores a year,” he said.

“The site selection and the size is heavily driven by their key demographics- where their key demographics, which is number one Korean population and number two would be Chinese, and where those demographics live they will open larger stores. Think Richmond Hill. Think Markham. Think Thornhill. Those types of areas.”

Galleria Supermarket Eglinton (Image: Galleria)

“And where they’re going to open smaller footprint stores is the Yonge and Eglington, the Queen West, urban stores that have less of their demographic like their key Korean and Chinese demographic but still have a heavy foot population and the theory here is that they’re actually pulling customers off of the street versus relying on their key demographic driving to them.”

“It’s a two phased approach as to why they’re opening urban ones. Number one is obviously they want to make money as a retail store as everyone does but the underlying piece to it is also to create brand awareness and Korean-based products in general because the more their non-dominant customer eats and likes Korean-based products the more they’re going to order them from their larger stores, from their online distribution and then also through the major grocery banners that their grocery stores supply to.”

Galleria Supermarket at 7040 Yonge Street (Image: Humbold Properties)

Pieszchala said expansion plans are all in Ontario right now to start but they have been out to Calgary to look at real estate. That is being put on hold for now but will be revisited eventually.

“Right now the focus is on southern Ontario,” he said.

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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