A fresh face for Freshmart

Loblaw’s affiliated independents are welcoming a new brand identity

Alison and Darryl Mudford couldn’t be happier with their rebranded Freshmart in Straffordville, Ont. The overall look and feel of the grocers’ 6,000-sq.-ft. store was updated in 2018 to reflect the new Freshmart branding for Loblaw’s affiliated independents. “Since we’ve done the rebrand, we have had such an amazing response from everybody who’s come into our store,” says Alison Mudford.

George Hampson, senior director of Loblaw’s affiliated independents, says the company first embarked on the rebranding program in 2017 as a way to “simplify and clarify our wholesale programs as well as develop a meaningful and consistent customer value proposition” for independent stores affiliated with Loblaw. There have been a number of brands operating under the company’s affiliated independent program, including Lucky Dollar, Shop Easy Foods and SuperValu in the West, Freshmart and Red & White in the East, and L’Intermarché in Quebec—so the goal is to consolidate all of them into one brand, Freshmart (with L’Intermarché still being the brand name used in Quebec).

“We thought this would be a great way to help the retailers we serve across the country with a more consistent look and feel, and a reputation for quality and safety, while still having the freedom to operate independently,” says Hampson. Freshmart was chosen as the brand that others would transition to, he says, because “we believe that Freshmart best reflects the value proposition of the customers’ businesses that we do serve, and where we wanted to go in the future.”

The acronym “LIFE” is used to capture the brand essence of the refreshed Freshmart, which stands for Local, Independent, Fresh and Engaged. The logo and colours were updated—“We went with green to help us signify what we thought would say fresh; it’s a modern green, and the font and the look of the Freshmart name is very clean,” says Hampson—while the interior decor was kept fairly neutral and customizable, letting individual stores add “local touches that would allow for community messaging ... really highlighting what makes them special.”

For the Mudfords, one of their favourite special touches is the local map feature. “The map is talked about on a regular basis,” says Alison Mudford. “We have a lovely overhang at the entrance to our store and we’ve placed it there. We have many, many tourists in our area because we live close to a provincial park, but the first to see it obviously were the locals and they were thrilled to see our little village, which is never on a map, appearing on a map.”

Hampson says the Freshmart rebranding process is ongoing. “This is not a rebrand where it’s going to pop in a tight timeline—we’re dealing with independent customers who, ultimately, have the choice in how they want to participate in this program. When we first started on the journey, we thought it would take us up to 10 years to work through it. We’re now a few years into it and making good progress.”

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