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Save-On-Foods opens international store

The front half is mainstream groceries; the other is foods from around the world

There’s a new type of Save-On-Foods on the block, this one with a multicultural flavour.

Save-On-Foods International, a new format from the Overwaitea Food Group, opened Nov. 6 in Surrey, B.C.’s Fleetwood neighbourhood (152nd and Fraser Highway).

Unlike conventional Save-Ons, this 74,000-square-foot store is “split in half,” Jas Athwal, director of ethnic merchandising for Overwaitea Food Group, told Canadian Grocer.

“The front half is mainstream groceries,” Athwal explained. The other side is “foods from around the world: U.K, Germany, Sweden, India, Philippines and China.” Produce runs down the middle of the store.

The store’s selection and services aim to encourage one-stop shopping.

Services include a pizza program, which allows customers to order pizzas to be baked in-house, as well as a sushi program, deli, fresh seafood, and a fresh sausage and meat counter.

Selection-wise, the store carries 8,000 Asian products.

Items includes 10-pound bags of Sher brand flour, a popular item with South Asian shoppers, said Athwal, and “skid upon skid” of 50-pound bags of onions, because, for South Asians, said Athwal, “every meal begins with onions.”

Also available, a selection of B.C. VQA wines. (The first grocery store in British Columbia to begin selling wine was another Save-On-Foods, also in Surrey, April 1.)

Half of the roughly 400,000 people living in Surrey are visible minorities, with one-third being South Asian. Others include Korean, Filipino and Chinese-Canadians.

Other food retailers in the area include PricePro, a 60,000 square-foot furniture and grocery store, the Korean grocery store H-Mart (32,000 square feet) and the T&T, at 22,000 square feet. Smaller markets include Pinoy Fleetwood and Al-Hana Arabic foods.

The Fleetwood Save-On store was formerly a PriceSmart Foods International.

The switch to Save-On allows the store to meld many of the product offerings and prices of PriceSmart–a discount banner–with the programs of the conventional Save-On-Foods, such as Darrell's Deals, Talk about Fresh Solutions and Talk about What's New.

But it’s also part of a rebranding strategy at Overwaitea, which has converted 15 of its 16 PriceSmart stores to Save-Ons since February of last year.

PriceSmart foods is becoming Overwaitea’s Asian banner, said Athwal. New PriceSmart stores will open in Richmond and Burnaby, B.C. over the next few weeks.

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