Grocery Concept ‘Market 63 by Coppa’s’ Opens 1st Downtown Store, in Toronto [Photos]

PHOTO: CRAIG PATTERSON

PHOTO: CRAIG PATTERSON

By Craig Patterson

Independent grocery chain Coppa’s has opened its first urban concept store in downtown Toronto. The location serves the rapidly growing South Core neighbourhood just south of Union Station, which houses thousands of residents in gigantic condominium towers. 

The store is named ‘Market 63 by Coppa’s’, and it includes a roughly 30,000 square foot retail space as well as an adjacent 66-seat restaurant, which is licensed. The store is located on the second level of the mixed-use ‘One York Street’ complex, which includes an office building, condominium towers with thousands of units, and a commercial podium that was intended to house a two-level Target store. Target never ended up opening in the space, which was subsequently subdivided for several retailers including Winners, a food hall, and now Coppa’s.

The new Coppa’s store refers to itself as the ‘new world of food’, featuring departments for a butcher, dry-aged beef cooler, fish counter, an expansive bakery section, an impressive produce area, a huge selection of cheeses, and even a flower section. Almost everything in the bakery is made on-site. There’s also a ‘Coppacino’s coffee bar and a full-service licensed restaurant called Nonna Francesca’s Ristorante, featuring a menu inspired by the South of Italy. Throughout the space is artwork inspired by the region. 

PHOTO: MARKET 63 VIA COPPA’S FACEBOOK

PHOTO: MARKET 63 VIA COPPA’S FACEBOOK

Being that it is a downtown store, Coppa’s includes a considerable offering of grab-and-go foods and meal kits, with a kitchen overseen by Claudio Aprile of MasterChef Canada. South Core’s youthful demographic in a high-density area means that Coppa’s offerings are a bit different than its two other locations, located in Toronto’s suburbs. 

Those include Toronto locations in Scarborough at 148 Bennett Road and North York at 4750 Dufferin Street, as well as in Vaughan at 3300 Rutherford Road, and at 1700 King Road in King City, in Toronto’s suburbs. 

Sales representative Michael Pelyk represented Coppa’s in the lease deal with the landlord, and Mr. Pelyk is representing the retailer as it continues to grow its base of stores. 

The Coppa family opened their first grocery store in 1963, hence the name ‘Market 63 by Coppa’s’. The first store was in Toronto’s Parkdale area at 1558 Queen Street West. The family’s grocery chain grew to become Highland Farms, and after a disagreement between brothers, the chain was split into two with Louie Coppa rebranding his half with the Coppa’s banner. 

Coppa’s is located in one of Toronto’s most vibrant areas, which is seeing explosive residential growth and is in close proximity to various attractions. A short walk north is the Rogers Centre and Scotiabank Arena facilities which see thousands of visitors for their events, concerts and other activations. Toronto’s Financial District is directly to the north. The area has also seen a flood of residents moving into the area’s condominium towers that have been sprouting up on both sides of the Gardiner Expressway. 

Union Station, as well, is a short walk north of the new Coppa’s. Union Station, which is the busiest single transit centre in Canada, is seeing its own expansion in renovation. Last year a new dining hall and several restaurant concepts opened in the complex, and this year a 50,000 square foot food hall will join them, as well as expanded retail concourses. 

Coppa’s will compete with the nearby Longo’s flagship at Maple Leaf Square, which spans about 43,000 on the complex’s lower level. There’s also a small-format Sobeys store to the south at Queen’s Quay Terminal, which saw an expansion and renovation a couple of years ago. 

Opening a downtown store is a risky move for the brand — operating in an urban location is often more expensive than in the suburbs, given the costs of real estate and logistics. Building downtown grocery stores can also be complicated given support pillars for towers above, though the space Coppa’s secured was originally built for a Target store as mentioned above, resulting in an attractive retail space with soaring ceilings and multiple access points.

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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. Email Craig: craig@retail-insider.com

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