Retail tour offers Toronto past and future - The Packer

Retail tour offers Toronto past and future

04/17/2013 06:02:00 PM
Pamela Riemenschneider

The Canadian Produce Marketing Association's retail tour in Toronto stopped at the new Leaside Longo's store, the site of a renovated historic locomotive repair. The 48,000-square-foot store's produce department comprised about 30% floor space. TORONTO — The 2013 Canadian Produce Marketing Association Convention retail tour, held April 17, started with a trendy new development and ended at a Toronto icon.

The first stop, a Metro in the Liberty Village development in Toronto, is surrounded by newly built condos and townhouses and caters to younger urban population, said Derek Kealy, store manager.

The store offers a wide assortment of fresh-cut and value added produce. Customers in the area also are heavy organic consumers, Kealy said.

Attendees next toured a Costco Wholesale location before heading to the newest Longo’s location in Leaside, the site of a heritage building formerly housing a locomotive repair, which opened in August.

The 48,000-square-foot store featured about 30% of floor space dedicated to produce, with a strong emphasis on take-home meal solutions and value-added offerings, said Mimmo Franzone, director of produce.

Chris Yli Luoma, left, of The Oppenheimer Group, talks with Derek Kealy, store manager at the Liberty Village Metro in Toronto. Franzone said the building was carefully restored in a process that took about five years from start to finish. Longo’s maintained as many original features as possible, recycling beams and wood into furniture for the stores’ in-house restaurant.

The last stop on the tour was an 85,000-square-foot Loblaws store in the heart of downtown Toronto, located in the Maple Leaf Gardens building, the former home of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

The store opened in late 2011 and features an in-house kitchen prepping freshly-made salads and other grab-and-go items, a unique feature for Loblaws, said Néma McGlynn.

McGlynn said the produce department stocks more than 1,000 stock-keeping units, 200 of which are organic.

Not many of the original Maple Leaf Gardens features remain in the store, although there were original stadium seats arranged in a maple leaf in the entry.

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