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Victoria retail thread: retailer news, comings and goings


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#41 Holden West

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Posted 11 November 2006 - 11:34 AM

Hmm...because Market carries a few Thrifty's brand items, I assumed they were buying together to compete withi Fairway et al...:D

The Market on Yates' owner was formerly a partner in Thrifty's with Alex Campbell.
"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
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#42 FunkyMunky

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Posted 11 November 2006 - 10:39 PM

In the aisle for 'ethnic foods', one of the sections was 'British Food', heh. They had those odd varieties of peas (marrowfat and, is it mushy?) and puddings in a tin, and some Spotted Dick! I am so going to buy some spotted dick and serve it for dinner one day.


They've had Spotted Dick in a can at Thrifty's for some time now (the Hillside Mall location but I'm sure other locations would have it too). Be sure to pick-up some Bird's Custard Powder to wash it down with. I'm not a huge fan of Spotted Dick but the parental unit thinks it's great (they're from the old country).

Now if they have a bottle or two of Bloater Paste, let me know.



#43 Caramia

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Posted 11 November 2006 - 11:40 PM

Thanks, you just gave me a great Christmas gift idea.
Nowadays most people die of a sort of creeping common sense, and discover when it is too late that the only things one never regrets are one's mistakes.
Oscar Wilde (1854 - 1900), The Picture of Dorian Gray, 1891

#44 Holden West

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Posted 12 November 2006 - 12:19 AM

I'm sure a few applications of antibiotic ointment would clear that right up.
"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
-City of Victoria website, 2009

#45 TheVisionary

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Posted 14 November 2006 - 11:22 PM

Corner stores are a dying species. This is the bigger national economy or international economy. It's the survival of the biggest and most powerful. If Wal-Mart doesn't eat you alive as the largest retailer ever, then some of the other large retailers will do so. Wal-Mart is the biggest shark in the sea, but not the only shark.

I'm affiliated with the HBC corporate group. Do any of you know what HBC is? It's "Here Before Christ"! It's the 4th largest retailer in Canada, possibly all of North America.

We used to gobble up smaller firms before Wal-Mart took over most of the pie. Between HBC, London Drugs, Canadian Tire, Loblaw Group (Real CDN Superstore/Wholesale Club), Sears Canada, Future Shop/Best Buy, Rona, Home Hardware, Winners, and others, we can counter balance the might of Wal-Mart.

We'd rather eat you small retailers up oursleves than let Wal-Mart have you. If you are going to be snack food anyways, who would you rather have "take you out", a Canadian company with history or some predatory American commercial entity?

#46 Baro

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Posted 14 November 2006 - 11:47 PM

There's still plenty of lovely corner stores where I live. Maybe in the burbs they are going away, but in normal city neighbourhoods like james bay or fernwood, people are willing to pay more to go to a store within a 2-3 min walk rather than drive way thr hell out to the middle of nowhere, park their car, then walk the same distance as they would have from their house to the store just to get from their car to the big-box.

Those stores are great spots since the staff knows everyone by name generally. They're little social meeting spots even.

I wish there were more of them though. Or more to the point, I wish more of the city was designed witht he density and such to support these types of stores as they pretty much depend on the 3-4 block radius around them.
"beats greezy have baked donut-dough"

#47 Savannah

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Posted 15 November 2006 - 07:14 AM

Now if they have a bottle or two of Bloater Paste, let me know.


I'm afraid to even Google that...

#48 Number Six

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Posted 15 November 2006 - 08:03 AM

I agree with Baro.

Wasn't HBC bought out earlier this year by a "predatory American commercial entity" by the name of Jerry Zucker.

#49 Mike K.

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Posted 15 November 2006 - 09:42 AM

HBC? Canadian?

HBC has been "owned" by American shareholder for years -- long before Zucker came around.

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#50 TheVisionary

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Posted 15 November 2006 - 04:19 PM

HBC? Canadian?

HBC has been "owned" by American shareholder for years -- long before Zucker came around.


-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Yes, that's correct. Zucker turned HBC around from a big lame duck retialer into a corporation that is actually profitable. I see more customers now than in the earlier days of Wal-Mart Canada expansion. Zuckers progressive and aggressive policies has enabled HBC to again emerge as a powerful Canadian predatory it once was. The only difference is that it's now a hybrid Canadian-American beast.

The old Canadian directors of HBC were old, clueless, senile, lame duck, reactive, weak, lack vision, toothless. Jerry Zucker clearcut the deadwood and put the organization on a weight loss, fat reduction program. We are now leaner and meaner.

Perhaps that's the problem with Canadian group culture, we are too lax, touchy feeler, too nice, not aggressive enough? We need to be more hard ass, individuals and groups in Canada. It's "you snooze, you lose". Take the oppositions' head off in one blow, type of mentality.

#51 FunkyMunky

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Posted 24 November 2006 - 08:41 PM

I love these types of stories where they highlight the interesting things people are doing in town that rarely get noticed.

Sitka surfer dudes missed waves


Andrew Paine, left, and Rene Gauthier put the finishing touches on the new Sitka Surfboards store located at 538 Yates St.
Photograph by : Bruce Stotesbury, Times Colonist

Darron Kloster, Times Colonist
Published: Thursday, November 23, 2006

November's wicked winds brought some of the year's most killer waves. And the irony is Rene Gauthier and Andrew Paine never caught one. Victoria's most famous surfer dudes were stuck indoors instead, drywalling, sanding, varnishing and whipping a heritage building into their own surfer's paradise.

"It was worth all the work," Paine says of the new home for Sitka Surfboards at 538 Yates St.

And the waves will always return.

The partners moved from the Leland Building on Douglas Street to downtown where they've remodelled the former Carnaby Street Boutique. Rosina Usatch, who operated the import store for more than 37 years and closed it this summer, is leasing the 1888 building to Paine and Gauthier.

They have triple the space and spent more than a month remodelling, keeping "the cabin charm" of the old battered- brick store but giving it a fresh new feel.

Virtually all the materials left by Usatch were re-used, says Paine, including old cedar plank flooring used to make walls to display wetsuits, skateboards and surf boards.

"We had friends and relatives going constantly ... it was a real team effort," says Paine. Friend and craftsman Dominic Boulet, for example, built cabinets while family members hung heavy pieces of drywall and applied the paint and stains.

Both avid surfers, Paine, 26, and Gauthier, 25, developed the Sitka brand while still at the University of Victoria and have built it into a million-dollar company with 15 employees over the past four years.

Earlier this year, Sitka earned a Times Colonist Fast 25 Award, honouring the fastest-growing companies on Vancouver Island.

The partners custom manufacture surfboards and design clothing and accessories of the culture that are sold to similar shops across Canada and the Western U.S.

To keep up with the demand, Paine said Sitka is importing surf boards from Brazil to keep its racks full. Custom-made boards, however, are still their specialty.

The partners are looking for a new manufacturing facility where they can shape the foam cores and rails and add fins and graphics and colours to customer's specifications.

Call 385-SURF or check the site, http://www.sitkasurfboards.com



#52 aastra

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Posted 24 November 2006 - 08:46 PM

That's great! I noticed the Douglas Street store was empty as I was heading into town on the PCL recently. It practically broke my heart, not because I surf but because it was such a unique store. I assumed they had gone out of business.

#53 Ms. B. Havin

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Posted 25 November 2006 - 10:09 AM

Is the grocery business part of "official retail thread," or should this be in another section? Two articles, both locked, in today's T-C's "Business" section:

Thrifty Foods gears for growth

Island's leading grocer buying up franchised stores, minority shares to leverage capital projects

Thrifty Foods is consolidating ownership of its supermarkets as it launches new stores and plans further growth.


and also:

Loyalty keeps national chains at bay

Unique products, local buying and good will at home keep the cash registers busy for home-grown chains

Vancouver Island grocery store operators hold the secrets to building loyal followers -- even as big chains offering discount prices are expanding in this industry, says the president of the Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers.


When you buy a game, you buy the rules. Play happens in the space between the rules.

#54 TheVisionary

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Posted 26 November 2006 - 12:53 AM

Very nice, I like that surfboard post with the surf shop picture! It looks quite interesting and kind of cool. It's different from the usual CORPORATE in the big box feeling. I think I'll look into that url link?

#55 Ms. B. Havin

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Posted 26 November 2006 - 09:08 PM

Hmm, not sure this should go into the retail thread, but here's an article by Carolyn Heiman on the imminent closure (or change/ alteration) of the Shell gas station at Yates & Fort St., [url=http://www.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/news/capital_van_isl/story.html?id=36413470-9f19-40b8-80f6-84af81c5fd27&k=75002:b4041]Decision heralds end of an era for iconic gas station[/url:b4041].

It's funny, in all the years I drove here as a teenager (and having friends from school who did fill up their cars at this station), and even since moving back here and living fairly close to this station, I have never stopped for gas there. But reading the article, I now wonder whether I wasn't missing something! They vacuumed your car while you bought gas? OMG...

Excerpt:

The Dunsmuir Shell station has operated on the site for 30 years, originally moving from Blanshard and Broughton streets. Over the years, it built an international reputation for service. Gas jockeys were required to run to cars. Women received roses on Fridays. While cars were being gassed up, the insides were vacuumed. Neat and tidy was the order of the day for all parts of the business, a challenging order for a business built on grease, oil and gas.


One other bit that caught my attention, especially since the Food Country closure is being justified on the basis of poor profit margins in the grocery business, was this (emphasis/ bolded bit added):

"We are getting into an older population that want service. In the next five years, there will be an out and out service civil war," Buchanan predicts, looking to the aging baby boomers who will once again want full service.

City council heard again from a Shell representative of how the gas station industry was changing and people no longer used full-service stations. Wal-Marts and Canadian Tires have supplanted the traditional gas station service bay, said Greg Soucie, of Grass Ridge Consulting and Development Ltd. When customers fill up with gas, they also want to buy diapers and other convenience items, he said.

Buchanan said he knows Shell will make more money from groceries than service bays.

"But to say you can't make money is a false statement," he added, interrupting his interview to tell a customer he couldn't take his car into a bay until Monday. "I'd like them to examine my books. It is a very profitable business."

So what's the story? Do you make more money selling groceries, or servicing cars? :?

Buchanan's comment re. ageing baby boomers wanting service (vs. heading to Canadian Tire to buy their own motor oil) is probably prescient. I hope there's some flexibility in re-converting to service-orientation, if he's proven correct.
When you buy a game, you buy the rules. Play happens in the space between the rules.

#56 gumgum

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Posted 29 November 2006 - 08:44 AM

Holden, are you gonna let us know about Staples?

#57 Holden West

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Posted 29 November 2006 - 09:18 AM

Ah, yes. I was walking by there yesterday and their sign was in the window of 747 Fort (The Rohani Building). That will offer some downtown competion for Monk's. I just hope they keep that giant retro lighting fixture that probably dates back to the Scotiabank days. Then again, Staples Office Depot is not exactly known for their retro funky taste in decor...

It will be a two-storey operation. I think trucks can access the podium from Broughton, correct? I was wondering where the loading dock will be. Surely they won't have trucks off-loading on Fort all day long.
"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
-City of Victoria website, 2009

#58 Holden West

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 10:26 PM

[url=http://www.icx.ca/PropertyDetails.aspx?vd=&SearchURL=%3fPage%3d2%26Mode%3d0%26vs%3d2%26rlt%3d%26cp%3d%26pt%3d149%26mp%3d0-0-0%26mrt%3d-1-0-0%26o%3dA%26of%3d1%26ps%3d50%26db%3d0%26ld%3d0%26mfs%3d%26mxfs%3d%26mls%3d%26mxls%3d%26lsu%3d2%26brd%3d%26lid%3d%26ptgid%3d2%26pro%3d3%26co%3dvictoria%26st%3d%26zip%3d&Mode=0&PropertyID=5287406:f3222]Demitasse is for sale again[/url:f3222]?
"Beaver, ahoy!""The bridge is like a magnet, attracting both pedestrians and over 30,000 vehicles daily who enjoy the views of Victoria's harbour. The skyline may change, but "Big Blue" as some call it, will always be there."
-City of Victoria website, 2009

#59 Mike K.

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Posted 19 December 2006 - 10:09 AM

Ms Betty Gibbens wants our waterfront to be a public park. Maybe a public park for the blind?

From Tuesday, Dec 19, Times Colonist

Waterfront best used as park
Victoria’s council has given preliminary approval for a new restaurant in a recycled metal container, like those on construction sites, on the pier below the historic Malahat building on Wharf Street.

“It will celebrate the Inner Harbour’s past and promotes its future,” according to the proponent's report.

Actually, it would block the harbour view for pedestrians on the public waterfront path, as do the impediments in place south from the Johnson Street bridge to the Visitors’ Information Centre.

They include the existing café, whalewatching terminals, seaplane terminals and the increasing number of moored vessels. The overall effect is one of tackiness.

Furthermore, although Milestone’s Restaurant already takes up a large area of the waterfront pedestrian area, an application has been made to expand the business by putting tables and chairs on the roof of the Visitors’ Information Centre, currently a street-level balcony from which the public can view the Inner Harbour.

Downtown has a wide variety of eateries and stores. A more appropriate vision and different balance is required for publicly owned lands.

Much is heard of the need to preserve heritage buildings; similar concerns about our scenic vistas need to be expressed.

Plans should be placed on hold pending the downtown plan being prepared. The little remaining public land around the Wharf Street area should be kept open space as park for future generations to enjoy. Betty Gibbens,

Victoria.

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#60 Ms. B. Havin

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Posted 19 December 2006 - 10:17 AM

What in tarnation does this woman want? A theme park? Barcaloungers set up on the street so we can all just sit on our bottoms and watch the world go by? A total ban on all development so that the city can return to nature? What? It's a city, for crying out loud! Has she ever looked at historic photographs to learn just how busily built up the waterfront area was, before the g_d-damned parking lots went in?

Sorry, I'm ranting, but I can't get over this ...person; she gets on my sodding wick!
When you buy a game, you buy the rules. Play happens in the space between the rules.

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