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Sunny Foodmart delivers "fresh offering from the world"


Toronto grocer Sunny Foodmart opened its fourth store Wednesday, inside a former Price Chopper in Etobicoke, in Toronto's west end.

Unique to this 37,000 sq. ft. store is a separate Halal meat area, as well as separate seafood and meat departments. By enclosing these fresh departments, smells are kept away from the main store, said the retailer's owner Bill Chen, who opened the first Sunny Foodmart after immigrating to Canada from Fuqing, China 13 years ago.

The store also has an extensive produce section, with a large variety of fruits and vegetables. On Wednesday, a closer look revealed several variations of the same item. For instance, there were three types of mangos and four types of bananas. Large variety in produce is part of Sunny's strategy to cater to a wide number of ethnic consumers.

Chen said the neighbourhood surrounding his store is made up primarily of South Asians, Columbians, Italians and Filipinos. Census data from 2006 shows that apart from English, the languages spoken most in the area include Punjabi and Gujarti, followed by Spanish, Tamil and Italian.

On opening day, the store was busy and customers seemed impressed. Fareha Haidary, originally from Afghanistan, said Sunny Foodmart is meeting her neighbourhood's need for fresh, affordable ethnic products. Before the store opened, she had to catch a bus to shop at either a No Frills or Bestco, another ethnic grocer.

Another shopper, Beverley Smart, was impressed by the variety of fresh produce from her native Jamaica, such as Jamaican yellow yam.

Wednesday's opening was attended by Toronto Mayor Rob Ford, who congratulated Chen on creating jobs and for meeting the needs of multicultural shoppers in Toronto.

Here’s a tour of the Sunny Foodmart:

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