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Farm Boy expansion in the GTA

AlbertC

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https://beta.theglobeandmail.com/report-on-business/small-business/fresh-ready-to-go-food-fuels-farm-boys-growth/article36716156/

Fresh, ready-to-go food fuels Farm Boy’s growth

MARK RENDELL


Special to The Globe and Mail
9 hours ago

Over the past three years, Farm Boy has opened stores in half a dozen communities across Ontario. And while the company has largely avoided the ultra-competitive Toronto market, it has been moving pieces into place in preparation for an aggressive push into the Greater Toronto Area over the next several years.

"We have 10 to 12 leases either ready to be signed, negotiated or development plans in place in the GTA," said chief executive officer Jeff York, who took the reins of the company in 2009 after a long career leading the discount store Giant Tiger. "In Ottawa we have 13 stores, so we can do 50 stores into Toronto pretty easily, in the GTA."

The company, sometimes described as Canada's answer to Whole Foods or Trader Joe's, is riding the wave of organic, health-conscious eating. It has also seen success by focusing on the growing demand for ready-made food to go, as more people buy lunches or eat dinner on the run.


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For the urban locations, the company is testing a smaller store model with a new 8,000-square-foot outlet opening in Ottawa's Rideau Centre. Mr. York envisages similar-sized stores popping up in condo or office developments in downtown Toronto to compete with the likes of Rabba Fine Foods.

That seems like a strategically sound move, said Dr. Charlebois. "The trend right now is toward smaller stores. Convenience has more currency than, say, five years ago. Price is very important, but convenience is becoming very important," he said.
 

Northern Light

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Skeezix

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I’ve shopped at Farm Boy in Ottawa often. I find them expensive. It’s a different concept from the traditional Loblaws/Metro approach. It will be interesting to see how they do in the Toronto market. Some locations” demographics make sense to me, some I question.
It's not No Frills, for sure.

What do you mean about questions? I would have thought that the Dupont and Lake Shore East sites would be right up Farm Boy's alley (Dupont is, admittedly, a bit more more urban than Farm Boy usually goes for). But I may be wrong. Just curious.
 

PinkLucy

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Organic, higher prices. The locations I have visited in Ottawa attract a different economic demographic than the one at Alderwood will, I believe. I use them more like I use Whole Foods, for special occasions, not as my regular grocery store. It will be interesting to see if they can replicate their Ottawa success in Toronto.
 

Northern Light

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Organic, higher prices. The locations I have visited in Ottawa attract a different economic demographic than the one at Alderwood will, I believe. I use them more like I use Whole Foods, for special occasions, not as my regular grocery store. It will be interesting to see if they can replicate their Ottawa success in Toronto.
Having just popped by the one in Pickering on Sunday, I'd have to differ.

Their conventional chicken was noticeably cheaper than any other a-line store and not on promotion.

Their passata was only $1.99

Their organic chicken was higher priced that comparable as they use a different vendor than most, it was $33 per kg (in line w/Whole Foods, where Metro/Loblaw would be in the $28 range)

I was able to snag Champagne Vinegar (which is a posh product, I grant you, for the cheapest I've ever found it at $12.99)

They don't sell pop, so can't compare on that.

Assuming you're buying their comparable store brands and conventional products I would put their price in the same range as Loblaw/Sobey/Metro or even fractionally cheaper.

I think where you pay extra is going for the stuff that's organic or unique to them/higher end.
 

PinkLucy

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Perhaps they have made some pricing changes since their expansion. I haven’t shopped in any of their GTA stores yet. Or they may have regional pricing like the other chains. It’s going to be interesting having a new player in the market.
 

PinkLucy

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Merivale is an interesting one -- my in-laws live near there but don't shop Farm Boy because of the pricing! Our family has been involved in the grocery business for years, so this is an ongoing topic of discussion :)
 

ShonTron

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I just visited the Farm Boy at Rideau Centre. It's a small store, but looked much nicer than some of the poorly-laid out "urban" supermarkets like Longo's on Dundas St. The lower level of Atrium on Bay might be a great fit for a downtown store, and I'd shop there for fresh meats and produce and possibly ready-to-eat items I'd pass over at my closest grocery store, Metro. (Kitchen Table doesn't cut it.)
 

thettctransitfanatic

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I will post pictures here of the new Farm Boy store in Etobicoke at Alderwood Plaza March 6th if anyone can not make it there.
 
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