Giant Tiger officially broke ground on a home office and flagship store in Ottawa last week, part of what the discount retailer describes as a \"carefully planned growth strategy\" that will see it open 10 to 15 stores per year.
The 173,000 square-foot facility will house both Giant Tiger's corporate headquarters and a flagship store. The store is expected to open in the fall of 2020, with the office opening in early 2021. Privately held Giant Tiger did not disclose construction costs for the facility.
Paul Wood, Giant Tiger's executive vice-president and chief financial officer who will succeed the retiring Thomas Haig as president and chief operating officer on Aug. 9, said the new headquarters was being built in response to the company's continued growth. Giant Tiger, which started with a single store in Ottawa's ByWard Market in 1961, has grown to 254 stores across the country.
Its new headquarters will house approximately 400 employees, a number that is expected to grow to approximately 700 over the next decade. \"Our current facilities just couldn't accommodate that, so it was time to make a change,\" said Wood. \"There is some specific expertise and skill sets required there that we've been bolstering.\"
At least a portion of the new office hires are in response to the company's growing fresh grocery business, said Wood. Fresh produce is now in the majority of Giant Tiger stores, while Wood expects fresh meat to be in between 50 to 60 stores by the end of the year. All new Giant Tiger stores are opening with a fresh meat offering, he said, noting that the company's new 600,000 square-foot distribution centre in Johnstown, Ontario has enabled it to bring aboard new vendor partners and expand its regional offering.
\"Our grocery business is a very significant piece of our overall business, and a driver of regular visits to our store,\" said Wood. \"It's a key part of maintaining our growth going forward. We partner with a lot of great vendors and companies to source that product and provide a great mix of national and store brand products to provide a pretty wide and convenient assortment of grocery products within our overall business.\"
The company also continues to invest in its private label grocery brand Giant Value, which encompasses a variety of centre-aisle products as well as items such as juice, dairy and frozen foods. \"You'll see those products called out with eye-catching packaging and tongue-in-cheek descriptions of the products,\" said Wood.
The new headquarters is being built with employees in mind, and will feature amenities including a full-floor cafeteria and coffee bar, a gym, games room, collaborative spaces and underground parking. The four-storey building is being built to LEED specifications, and will be primarily glass, with a central atrium and an abundance of \"light and airy spaces,\" said the company in a release.
While recent build-outs in the retail sector have tended to be brighter and airier, with lower shelving and more natural finishes, Wood was tight-lipped about any specific design elements for Giant Tiger's flagship store.
\"We're looking at it as an opportunity to try some new things, and use it as a bit of a sandbox to explore how some of these new concepts would play for us across the chain,\" he said.