Calgary’s supermarket industry is about to get a lot more competitive. At a recent Calgary Food & Drug Executives meeting, Overwaitea Food Group’s president Steve van der Leest announced their first Calgary Save-on-Foods store will open on Seton Blvd in the deep SE, feeding Calgary’s booming bedroom communities.
Save-On Foods will be finally coming to Calgary after measured expansion efforts in Alberta has seen the banner secure beachheads in Edmonton, Red Deer and Lethbridge.
For those familiar with the Save-on-Foods format, and especially those of us living in Calgary, the announcement was as long-awaited and as highly-speculated as Target’s takeover of Zellers stores was before it was announced this past January.
The store concept was branded Save-on-Foods Marketplace and Café and shows a café / patio in front of the store which will add to community building in the neighborhood, despite Calgarians only being able to use it for four months of the year. Community is a key aspect of the Save-on-Foods culture.
The new design is unique from its third generation stores and will offer approximately 44,000 sq. ft. of retail space. It is part of a 3 million sq. ft. retail / residential development and is located nearby Calgary’s newest hospital (currently still under construction).
As an “outsider” to Calgary, having its store included in this development is a big coup for Save-on-Foods. Calgary has been a hotbed of retail as of late (Tiffany, Hermes, 7 for Mankind and its Cross Iron Mills shopping centre) and the competition for good retail space is fierce.
The store is slated to open in Q4 2012 and based on Save-on-Foods’ previous geographic expansions, if it is successful it will be followed on by more stores in Cowtown sooner than later.
Save-on-Foods continues its Alberta expansion with a replacement store on Baseline Road in Sherwood Park (October), a new Lethbridge store (November) and a new store in Spruce Grove store will follow. The new stores will be supported by a high-volume distribution centre in Alberta and the search is on for a suitable site to build the new DC.
For those of you reading this in Eastern Canada – be sure to include a Save-on-Foods store to your next Western itinerary. Having spent 10 years back in the late nineties at the Eastern HQs of some big CPG companies, it was a real eye opener to see a solid operator like Save-on-Foods for the first time, which at the time wasn’t really on the Toronto radar.
Save-on has grown substantially since then and will be a great addition to the Calgary retail mix.