California-based Filipino grocery chain Seafood City has opened its first store in Canada. Considered to be ‘more than just a grocery store’, the wildly popular concept is expected to open locations in selected markets nationwide.
Located at Heartland Town Centre in Mississauga, the new 50,000 square foot Seafood City store features fresh seafood as well as meat, fruits and vegetables, and "special spices and ingredients that Filipinos grew up with and have learned to love,” according to the company. Included are “Traditional products that they have missed and remind them of home, but also new products from the different regions of the Philippines”.
The store also houses four fast-food restaurants — Grill City, Noodle Street, CrispyTown, and Jollibee — the latter will open in early 2018. The store also includes locations for Valerio's Tropical Bakeshop, TFC (The Filipino Channel), Atlas International Courier, and the Philippine National Bank.
The company was founded in San Diego in 1989. Seafood City is considered to be America’s first and leading Filipino Asian supermarket chain, with 24 stores in California, Nevada, Washington, Hawaii, and Chicago. But it’s not just a supermarket. "Our plan is always to be a Filipino town center, a one-stop hub where our beloved customers can go to for their basic needs. So, we bring in with us our allied partners that offer the usual services and products our customers need,” says the company.
Mississauga was chosen for Seafood City’s first Canadian store because of the Greater Toronto Area’s large Filipino community. The Greater Toronto Area is home to about half of the country’s 700,000 Filipinos, with Vancouver and Winnipeg also having significant populations (and therefore likely being targets for Seafood City stores). Winnipeg was the first city in Canada to get a standalone Jolliebee restaurant.
Heartland Town Centre is an outdoor retail power centre, boasting over 2 million square feet of retail space and about 180 stores, including multiple anchor retailers. Nordstrom Rack will join the mix when it opens its second GTA store in the fall of 2018.
"It's extremely exciting to have Seafood City open their first Canadian store in Mississauga to serve the large and growing Filipino community in the Greater Toronto Area. A new generation of foodies will enjoy the new and diverse options offered by this Filipino-oriented grocery store,” said Louroz Mercader, co-founder of RISE Tribe — a Filipino youth mentorship program based in Mississauga.
Seafood City says that while no other locations have been secured in Canada, the British Columbia Lower Mainland is a target for a location, and the Greater Toronto Area is also likely to see more. Greg Rabin of Paracom Realty represents Seafood City, and negotiated the Heartland Town Centre deal on behalf of the retailer.
The Mississauga store will no doubt be a hit. According to Seafood City, after it was announced that the retailer was coming to Mississauga (we wrote about it first in February of 2016), tens of thousands of Filipinos around the Toronto area have already signed up for Seafood City’s SUKI Card membership program. Retail is alive and well when it’s done right, and offers what consumers want.