H.Y. Louie Co. started the New Year by opening its new concept store in West Vancouver.
Called Fresh St. Market, it is located on a former Safeway store. But the only thing that resembles the old supermarket is its 28,000 sq.ft. footprint.
The entrance of the store is designed with a market feel.
Exotic fruit are accompanied by signage, there are huge rolls of cheeses, a giant display of local apple cider from Taves Family Farms in Abbotsford, B.C., and another with chilies arranged from mild to the extra hot ghost chili pepper that comes with a warning.
“Our motto is affordable fresh food,” added Gary Sorenson, chief operating officer and executive vice president. “We have a lot of unique product for the foodies, the people who really want to explore cooking as well we’ve got a good basic fresh food offering in every fresh department that takes care of everybody’s every day needs.”
Eventually all the MarketPlace IGA stores will convert to the new brand and Sorenson said the plan is to open three Fresh Street stores a year either through conversions or new real estate.
“We are going to stay in Greater Vancouver for now, but we are going to expand throughout B.C. and we are not afraid to look across the Rockies at Alberta either,” he said.
H.Y. Louie has teamed up with local celebrity chef Karen Barnaby to develop a private label brand for fresh called Chef Destinations.
The store has 28 different varieties of salads and 14 different soups noted Dave Preston, director, fresh programs.
While Fresh Street carries products you’ll find in any traditional market, the focus is on the unique.
“The idea is to keep people interested,” he said.
Sourcing for the store is B.C. first, Canada second, and then the world, but because he wants the bakery to be a destination category.
Cheesecakes are flown in from New York’s Carnegie Deli Cheesecake and ciabalta brick oven bread is brought in from Boulart in Montreal.
The store is set up to capture changing shopping patterns, said Sorenson adding that where supermarkets usually have a 55/45 split with 55 per cent being grocery and 45 per cent fresh, Fresh Street’s offering is closer to 60 per cent of total store sales.
And, where the industry basket size is $30 plus, he predicts customers will spend $25 to $30 per trip. And that’s just fine, because he expects customers to return three or more times a week.