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Downtown Grocery Store List (current + proposed)

I wonder if the Loblaws at Jarvis and QQE is up for redevelopment now?


@Northern Light perhaps you have some insight but I will give my 5 cents here.

A few years ago I would have suggested this store was dying off but now that all the condos have gone up there is demand for groceries in the area. Given the demand and proximity to the condos, I can see this store staying for a bit.

There is stiff competition in the area though with Metro, No Frills and St Lawrence all in the area.

On the other hand, the demand for Condos in the area is such that they could sell the land for a pretty nickel.
 
@Northern Light perhaps you have some insight but I will give my 5 cents here.

A few years ago I would have suggested this store was dying off but now that all the condos have gone up there is demand for groceries in the area. Given the demand and proximity to the condos, I can see this store staying for a bit.

There is stiff competition in the area though with Metro, No Frills and St Lawrence all in the area.

On the other hand, the demand for Condos in the area is such that they could sell the land for a pretty nickel.

The site will be redeveloped, but its a while off yet; its not in the first batch of properties that Choice (Loblaws real estate arm) is looking at; it will likely be around in its current form for another 5 years minimum, possibly as many as 10.

When redevelopment moves ahead, I expect Loblaws will provide a replacement store either on-site or nearby before demo'ing the existing one. That store still turns a material amount of sales each week.
 
I had a friend who worked at the Bayview Village location who said they would regularly get the Maple Leaf meat, take off the wrapping, and mark it up. For many customers, they were just in the store for the fancy Pusateri's bag.

I've heard that too! Also heard their stores aren't exactly the cleanest places. I haven't set foot in a Pusateris since the Avenue location got shut down by the Toronto Health department for a infestation of both rats and cockroaches!

Also they price gouged hand sanitizer and disinfectant wipes during the first COVID lockdown, until the media got hold of it, then they claimed the pricing was a "mistake" lol

Good riddance Pusateri's!
 
I've heard that too! Also heard their stores aren't exactly the cleanest places. I haven't set foot in a Pusateris since the Avenue location got shut down by the Toronto Health department for a infestation of both rats and cockroaches!

It is worth nothing that they did a "working interview" for me at that store around late 2010.

They had me work the day to see if I would be a good fit for the store. I was hired on for the Yorkville Store as a "cook" but left the same day when I was not being trained properly.

Before it was torched, the Avenue Road store was a deathtrap underground. They had tunnels under the store in the basement area connecting various areas like the kitchen to the storage areas. I believe they had boxes of food piled in the corridor alongside carts with garbage bags on the day I was there.

It was a mess and honestly if the public saw what I saw, they would never shop at Pusateris again.
 
Pusateri's has not set a foot right in years...

They've outright closed the Sherway location (and guess whose there now, Eataly)........

They've left the Sak's location at Queen/Yonge to rot, more than 1/2 closed, it was really close to a great idea previously, but needs some tweaks to move more product; but its barely a shell of itself now. Like so many retailer's that fail, its tried to cut its way to success reducing service, product, and innovation, rather than reinvesting in same. They also entered and failed in Oakville a long time ago.

With Yorkville gone, they're down to the flagship, Bayview Village and Little Italy.

Their senior management should walk the plank for all the money flushed down the toilet.

Pusateri's at its best could have done well in Forest Hill with a full service store; or in Leaside, or near Bloor West Village or Bloor/Kingsway.

But they've persisted in going into the wrong locations, and 1/2 assing it as if they owned the market.

The result has been that Eataly in particular is owning them, but at a smaller scale, Summerhill Market is taking it to them as well.

Whole Foods has been a complete laggard in the Ontario market the last decade plus, that's probably been Pusateri's only saving grace.

At their current rate, the flagship will be gone in 5 years.
I called it as soon as I heard about their puzzling decision to open a new store in Little Italy - that location is going to bomb HARD.
 
I called it as soon as I heard about their puzzling decision to open a new store in Little Italy - that location is going to bomb HARD.

They are probably relying on the stores Italian roots to make it work.

Little Italy *IS NOT* the place for a Pusateris. Vaughan maybe but not Little Italy.

These are not the days of the Nonnas fawning over Sophia Loren and Johnny Lombardi. The area is changing and no amount of marketing schtick can keep that store afloat.
 
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From my understanding a lot of Pusateri's expansion plans through the years were the decision of the company's President (the founder/patriarch's brother in law). Who also once had lofty grandiose ambitions such as opening on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, before that was ultimately quashed.

Re: the Avenue Road flagship store's dirtiness. Yes, that was always a problem during the time when I worked there in high school. Rodents were a common sight underneath the elevated platform in the deli department. Along with sometimes droppings on the counter overnight.

Re: the new store opening on College, I also expect that store to fail. I would even say that it's disconnected to the point where it's not associable to "Little Italy". There hasn't been a significant presence of Italians in the area for decades, especially for around these parts west of Ossington that weren't even that Italian in recent history. Even the older Portuguese majority have gradually left. The Dufferin Grove area is now more of a newer influx of young-ish well-to-do type demographic, but I don't necessarily see Pusateri's appealing to them that much.
 
The Dufferin Grove area is now more of a newer influx of young-ish well-to-do type demographic, but I don't necessarily see Pusateri's appealing to them that much.

That's me! Will be moving to that area and I wouldn't see myself (or my wife) shopping at Pusateri's very often. More like a combination of Nosso Talho/Gasparro's/No Frills. I'd get on the subway to Eataly if I wanted that type of store.

I could never figure out whether it was the pandemic or just incompetence that doomed the Pusateri's food hall under the Bay.
 
I could never figure out whether it was the pandemic or just incompetence that doomed the Pusateri's food hall under the Bay.

Likely both.

The Food Hall at the other end also closed despite having some good food pre-pandemic. Food Halls as a whole are a dying concept.

Pustaeri's never really knew what they were doing and went off the name mostly. If you were not over 30 and in Toronto you likely have or had no clue who they are.
 
I could never figure out whether it was the pandemic or just incompetence that doomed the Pusateri's food hall under the Bay.

The portion of the Food Hall selling to-go, ready-to-eat foods (pizza, sandwiches, cupcakes etc.) did pretty good business pre-pandemic.

The actual grocery (butcher, produce etc.) not as well, though ok'ish.

The former was fixable with a few tweaks in merchandising, as well as samples to encourage people to try less familiar, higher end product.

The design was always a bit too rabbit-warren'ish, but that wasn't a show-stopping issue.

The pandemic/WFH slaughtered traffic in HBC and The PATH more broadly.

The Eaton Centre has seen traffic fully resurge though, even w/o Nordstrom.

The lackluster investment by 'The Bay' in their Queen Store, from escalators turned off, to that sad sack Zellers pop up, to a shortage of staff on the floor have all taken what would still be a challenging situation and made it worse.

While the Pusateri's has actually been so under invested in (mostly closed) for almost 4 years now, that its actually a drag on traffic to The Bay.

That last bit, is incompetent.

Even right now, they actually re-opened the kitchen and associated counter in that store, but almost no one knows it, because there's a wall full of closed off store, and only one access point to the deli/cheese/kitchen area.

There's no meaningful effort to signal to customers they reopened that feature.
 
I don't think food halls are a dying concept. Assembly is packed Tuesday-Thursday, to the point where it's hard to find a seat after 12:00. The one in the new CIBC building is starting to pick up, and more stalls are planned. O&B just opened one at 1 York that isn't busy yet, but has some good stuff (and very nice seating area with windows).
 
I could never figure out whether it was the pandemic or just incompetence that doomed the Pusateri's food hall under the Bay.

Because the food is terrible! My mom had lunch there once, she said her sandwich awful, and also bought a box of pastries that were dry, like day olds. ( probably were) But they looked amazing in the display case. Pustaeri's is all style no substance.

I've been to Assembly a few times, the food was pricey, but at lesat it was good and filling! I don't mind paying a few bucks extra for big portions.
 
Because the food is terrible! My mom had lunch there once, she said her sandwich awful, and also bought a box of pastries that were dry, like day olds. ( probably were) But they looked amazing in the display case. Pustaeri's is all style no substance.

To be fair, Pusateri's has, at times, delivered great product.

In the HBC space, anything that had to move same day, such as pizza, was generally pretty good and reasonable value for money.

But what you note, is the problem; where things were failing, the tendency was to be cheap and stretch a buck, where the answer, assuming the product when fresh, was good, was to give out free samples until people arrived in droves willing to pay for it.
 
Metro's online grocery now has suggestions on further things to buy when you pick something.
Occasionally they are quite comical.

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