Inside Longo’s Impressive New Imperial Plaza Location [Photos]

Toronto-based grocery retailer Longo’s has opened an impressive 8,500 square foot ‘Market by Longo’s’ store at Imperial Plaza on St. Clair Avenue, between Yonge Street and Avenue Road. The beautiful store features 24-foot ceilings and is located at the base of an iconic former office building that was recently repurposed for upscale condominium residences. 

Toronto-based retail strategy and design firm Ampersand Studio Inc. helped create the new store, as well as helped develop an overall branding strategy for Longo’s ‘Market’ concept which includes a refreshed logo incorporating capital letters and a modern font. ‘The Market by Longo’s’ was founded in 2006, with its stores featuring smaller footprints than the company’s full-sized Longo’s stores. Longo’s was founded in 1956 and operates 24 full-sized and five smaller ‘Market’ locations, all located in and around the Toronto area. 

Imperial Plaza tower was built in the mid 1950s, and is considered to be a masterpiece of mid-century International Style modernism. Originally the headquarters for Imperial Oil, the tower was recently repurposed into a 400-unit condominium building with retail at its base. A mural called “The Story of Oil” by R. York Wilson is located at Longo’s checkouts — a nod to the building’s heritage. The store also incorporates marble and granite from the original office building. 

All photos by Michael Mahovlich. 

ENTRY – THE 24 FOOT CEILING HEIGHTS GRAND ENTRY IS SURROUNDED BY MARBLE WALLS AND FULL HEIGHT WINDOWS. CUSTOM MADE CHANDELIERS AND WALL SCONCES WAS INSPIRED BY THE HERITAGE ARCHITECTURE OF THE BUILDING ALSO CREATES AN INVITING ENTRY EXPERIENCE WHILE CELEBRATING THE GRANDEUR OF THE SPACE.
WINDOW DISPLAY – THE ORIGINAL FLOOR PATTERN WAS USED TO INSPIRE A FRAMED WINDOW FEATURE WITH HISTORICAL IMAGES OF THE NEIGHBOURHOOD ON THE INSIDE AND BRANDING OF THE STORE OFFERING ON THE OUTSIDE.
DELI – INSPIRED BY OLD DELICATESSEN SIGNAGE, THE INTERNALLY ILLUMINATED “DELI” SIGNAGE CALLS OUT THE FULL SERVICE DELI COUNTER AT THE BACK OF THE STORE.
BAKERY – RECLAIMED WOOD USED AS THE BAKERY SIGNAGE PROVIDES DEPTH AND TEXTURE AS WELL AS THE SUSPENDED TRELLIS ABOVE CREATES A MORE INTIMATE SERVICE POINT.
RED ARROW – OVER SIZED ARROW TAKES A PLAYFUL/LITERAL APPROACH TO LET CUSTOMERS KNOW THE MARKET BY LONGO’S OFFERS A FULL SHOP TO ITS CUSTOMERS.
MEAT & SEAFOOD – ORIGINAL HAND DRAWN ILLUSTRATIONS APPLIED TO THE WALLS AT MEAT & THE MEAT & SEAFOOD DEPARTMENT CREATES THE OLD SCHOOL EUROPEAN BUTCHER SHOP AT THIS SERVICE POINT AND PLAYS HOMAGE TO THE “THE MARKET” TYPE SHOPPING EXPERIENCE OF THE PAST WHILE THE COLOUR PALETTE AND SUSPENDED TRELLIS BRINGS AN URBAN FEEL TO THIS SERVICE POINT.

Article Author

Craig Patterson
Craig Patterson
Now located in Toronto, Craig is a retail analyst and consultant at the Retail Council of Canada. He's also the Director of Applied Research at the University of Alberta School of Retailing in Edmonton. He has studied the Canadian retail landscape for the past 25 years and he holds Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws Degrees. He is also President & CEO of Vancouver-based Retail Insider Media Ltd.

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