Korean grocer Galleria expands


Galleria Supermarket, an independent Toronto-area grocery store, has opened a second store, with plans to add a third in the coming year.

Galleria, which specializes in Korean food, but also sells other ethnic fare such as Japanese and Chinese, opened the 40,000-square-foot store in the Don Mills section of Toronto earlier this month. On opening day, lineups were out the door (photo above).

Company spokesperson Won Ha says the new store features a unique prepared food section where chefs create the dishes right in front of the customer. Shoppers can then take the meal home or eat it inside the store’s food court. There's also an all-you-can-eat Korean buffet available.

Up front, the store has self-checkout cash registers in English and Korean.

Ha says Galleria's executive team investigated the design of several other grocery chains before opening the store. They were especially impressed by the Longo’s store format, notably its higher ceilings. As it turns out, Galleria's new store is just minutes away from a Longo’s.

Ha says Galleria is looking at opening a third store in Mississauga, Ont. and it could be up and running by next summer.

Galleria opened its first store in 2003 in Thornhill, Ont., a suburb of Toronto. The company’s core customer base has been Korean Canadians, but Ha says Galleria’s goal is to reach other ethnicities as well as mainstream shoppers. It recently revised its logo so that the company name appears in English rather than Korean.

The ethnic grocery segment is among the fastest growing in Canada. A recent report from CIBC World Markets analyst Perry Caicco pegged the annual growth at somewhere between 15% and 20% annually. He also estimated that the market is worth up to $5 billion in Canada.

Earlier this week another ethnic grocer, Sunny Foodmart, opened its doors a few kilometres south of Galleria. It specializes in produce, meat, seafood and halal meat. It also has an in-store food court.

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