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Farm Boy arrives in Burlington

The Empire-owned chain continues its Ontario expansion with 29th store

Shoppers in Burlington, Ont. have another option for groceries now that Farm Boy has set up shop in the city west of Toronto.

At 23,938 sq. ft., the newly built store is a bit larger than Farm Boy locations in nearby Hamilton and Oakville. At the grand opening on Thursday morning, co-CEO Jeff York told Canadian Grocer Farm Boy stores have an "accordion like" design that can expand or contract depending on the space they are able to get.

Farm Boy co-CEOs Jean-Louis Bellemare and Jeff York.

With the extra square footage at this location, York says they've been able to bump up the grocery offering, which includes an extensive line of private label items (more than 60 products with some 800 SKUs) as well as products from hundreds of local producers.

READ: Farm Boy purchases popular Ottawa bakery

York also calls attention to the freshly prepared foods section of the store, which takes up considerable space. "It's amazing," said York. "We have a lot of meals prepared right in front of the customers," reinforcing Farm Boy's fresh market positioning. The store also boasts a large produce department, a butcher and wide selection of artisanal cheese.

READ: Industry reaction to the Empire-Farm Boy deal

The Burlington store is located at the northeast corner of Dundas St. and Walkers Line in a busy plaza that is also home to an LCBO, Shoppers Drug Mart and Starbucks. On this snowy opening day, the store is bustling with customers and York expects the store's traffic to continue to grow; he said the area behind the plaza is being developed and the store is easily accessed by commuters travelling along Highway 407.  There's plenty of competition in the area, too: Longo's anchors a plaza across the street and just a bit further East on Dundas St. there's a Walmart Supercentre and a Fortinos.

READ: Farm Boy is tops in customer experience: Survey

Founded by co-CEO Jean-Louis Bellemare in 1981, Farm Boy started out as a small produce stand in Cornwall, Ont. In recent years it has been steadily adding to its store count in new markets such as Newmarket, Mississauga, Hamilton, Oakville and Toronto. Next up? A 25,000-sq.-ft. store in St. Catharines, in the Niagara region, is set to open in early 2020 that will anchor the city's Fourth Avenue West Shopping Centre.


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