The first Rabba grocery store was established by the Rabba family in Toronto, in 1967. The family combined their efforts, aiming to provide quality products and great customer service, which they soon became very well known for. As the retail market and the demands of their customers began changing in the 1980s, the Rabba family opened the first ‘Rabba Fine Foods’ store in the harbourfront of Toronto. This store changed Rabba forever and all Rabba stores now take the same bright, accessible and local format.
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Loblaws is a supermarket chain founded by Theodore Loblaw and John Milton Cork in 1919. Until 1960, the stores operated across Canada, after that period, they got rebranded as SuperValu and then Real Canadian Superstore in western Canada. The chain has now over 2000 stores in Canada, headquartered in Brampton, with stores in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec. Loblaws is a division of Loblaw Companies Limited, Canada's largest food distributor. 2008 was an year of change for Loblaws, some stores were renovated and given a new format that went by the name Loblaws Great Foods.
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Bulk Barn was established in 1982 with a single store and is now considered to be Canada’s largest bulk food retailer. Today there are over 250 Bulk Barn stores throughout Canada, the majority of which are in Ontario, with at least one in every province and the number still growing. At Bulk Barn you can find more than 4,000 products on offer with more products being added regularly to meet expanding customer needs. The products on offer at Bulk Barn include candy and chocolate, baking ingredients, party supplies, pasta, rice, beans, spices, health foods, gluten free products, pet food, international products and more.
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Sobeys Inc. is a grocery store chain and the second largest food retailer in Canada. Sobeys is part of the conglomerate Empire Company and operates Grocery stores across all 10 provinces, under a variety of banners. Sobeys was originally founded as a meat delivery business in Stellarton, Nova Scotia, in 1907 by John W Sobey. In 1924, after being convinced by his son, he expanded into a full grocery business. After John’s death, his son Frank ran the business and in 1949 the first self-serve Sobeys supermarket was opened. The chain gradually expanded through the Atlantic Provinces and in 1980 the first Sobeys store was opened in Ontario. By 1998 Sobey’s had become the second largest grocer in Canada after purchasing several other grocery store chains including the Oshawa Group.
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Wholesale Club is the leading self-service wholesale chain in Canada, owned by Loblaw Companies Limited. The Wholesale Club chain was initially named the Real Canadian Wholesale Club and in Quebec, the chain is named ‘Club Entrepot’. There are 58 Wholesale Club locations across Canada, in 9 provinces. Wholesale Club has its own private label, Sunspun, which stocks a variety of products carefully selected for foodservice customers. In every Wholesale Club store there is a collection of products that are the same in every store but also a collection of products that are unique to each store.
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Longos is a family-owned grocery store chain in the Greater Toronto Area. The Longos chain was established in 1956 by three brothers Tommy, Joe and Gus. The first Longos store was a small fruit market on Yonge Street in Toronto and eight family members worked there. The second Longos store was opened on Woodbine Avenue in 1962. In 2004 Longos acquired the online grocery retailer Grocery Gateway, which gave them the largest online grocery retail presence in Canada and they still own and operate Grocery Gateway today. Today there are approximately 30 Longos locations in operation throughout Southern Ontario.
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PetSmart was founded in 1986, but they opened their first two store just one year later in 1987, they were called PetFood Warehouse at the time. They changed then, in 1898, both name and logo from PetFood Warehouse to PetSmart. PetSmart is considered to be the most comprehensive online pet supplies and pet care products and information in the U.S and Canada. They have in site expert veterinary care available in many of their stores, where Banfield Pet Hospital®, operates full-service pet hospitals. The pet hospitals operate independently of PetSmart expert veterinarians provide a full range of health care and emergency services.
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Valu-mart is a grocery chain, owned by Loblaw Companies Ltd. Valu-mart is a member of the National Grocers’ network of supermarket retailers. The first Valu-mart warehouse was opened in Northern Ontario in 1925 and consolidated the distribution systems of 34 grocery firms. In the 1960s National Grocers became a subsidiary of Loblaws and in the 1980s Valu-mart franchises were created which served primarily rural communities. In 1990, the total number of Valu-mart stores was raised to 73 after 34 Loeb stores were acquired and converted to Valu-mart stores.
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Canadian Tire’s story begins way back in 1922 when John William Billes and Alfred Jackson Billes invested all of their savings in the Hamilton Tire and Garage Ltd. The company was sold shortly after in 1923 and the Bille brothers had to move several times before finally settling at 639 Yonge Street. It was in 1934 that they opened their first official store in Hamilton, Ontario. Since then, the company has grown immensely and now has over 487 stores. Canadian Tire is, nowadays, listed on the Toronto Stock Exchange. This incredible growth transformed the store network into three major waves that began in 1994.
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It all begins in 1978 in Toronto, a tough period of a rising inflation and No Frills was the first store to adopt the european model of promoting discount prices an outlet prototype. They promoted fresh produce at the lowest possible price whilst european store would offer only dry products for low prices. This strategy attracted loads of customers and they started to offer the “no name” brand with prices between 10 and 40 percent lower than the national brands. The sales exceeded all the projections and No Frills was quickly beginning a family favorite. The new model was possible because customers were required to pack their own groceries as well as bring their own shopping bags or pay three cents for each. In spite of all limitations such as selection and minimal customer service, No Frills was an instant hit from day one! On the opening day they had more shoppers than the store could handle.
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The first Fortinos store was opened in 1961 in Hamilton, Ontario by immigrants John Fortino and his sisters. In 1972, a second Fortinos store was opened on Hamilton Mountain after 10 new partners were added to the Fortinos family. A year later, the largest Fortinos store was opened on the West Mountain and in 1975 another store was opened in Stoney Creek. Fortinos saw even more growth throughout the 1980s and in 1988 Fortinos became part of the Loblaw Companies Ltd. In the 1990s Fortinos expanded beyond Hamilton into the Greater Toronto area, opening 5 new stores, followed by the opening of the first ‘Fortinos Adventure’ one-stop shop store in Burlington in 1996.
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The Food Basics grocery store chain was founded in 1995 by A&P Canada to compete with Loblaws’ No Frills low-cost supermarket chain. Food Basics was sold to Metro Inc. in 2005 and the chain is now comprised of 125 stores across the province of Ontario. Some Food Basics stores also contain a pharmacy within the store and these locations are known as Food and Drug Basics.
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The Walmart grocery store chain initially existed only in the US but was established in Canada in 1994, when Wal-Mart Stores Inc. acquired 122 Woolco stores in Canada. These 122 Woolco stores were then converted into the Walmart banner. All of the employees of the acquired Woolco stores were retained including Mario Pilozzi, the senior vice-president of Woolco who went on to become CEO of Walmart Canada. By 2005, Walmart had 260 stores and was Canada’s second largest retail chain. In 2006, Walmart began opening Supercentres in major Canadian cities. Walmart now operates more than 400 stores across Canada, serves more than 1.2 million Canadians every day and employees more than 95,000 associates.
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The IDA Pharmacy and Guardian Pharmacy chains are both owned by the US health-care giant, McKesson Corp and so they are now somewhat merged into one. IDA stands for Independent Druggists’ Alliance and the first IDA Pharmacy opened in 1932. IDA Pharmacy stores can be found in 6 of the 10 Canadian provinces as well as the Northwest Territories. All IDA Pharmacy locations, as well as Guardian Pharmacy locations, are independently owned and operated by pharmacists. Combined, there are over 900 IDA and Guardian Pharmacy stores across Canada and over 520 IDA stores, alone.
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The M&M Food Market grocery chain was previously known as M&M Meat Shops and has served Canadians for over 35 years. M&M Meat Shops was founded by Michael Voisin and Mark Nowak in Kitchener Ontario in 1980 with the aim of providing good quality meat at lower prices. It was soon discovered that flash frozen meats retained their freshness and could be sold at a lower price than other supermarkets as they could be stored for longer. M&M Food Market is now the leading retailer of fine frozen foods in Canada.
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Real Canadian Superstore is a chain of supermarkets with locations in 6 of the 10 Canadian Province. There are 114 Real Canadian Superstore stores in Canada today, the majority of which are in Ontario. The name is often shorted to ‘Superstore’ and it is owned by Loblaw Companies Ltd. The first Real Canadian Superstore location opened in 1979 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, but it was named SuperValu. In the early 2000s Real Canadian Superstore locations were opened in Ontario in response to the introduction of Wal-Mart stores to the province.
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FreshCo FreshCo is a Sobey’s discount banner that was launched in Canada in 2010. FreshCo main goal is to provide Canadians the freshest ingredients and produce with amazingly low prices, making the grocery shopping a incredible experience. FreshCo has now 88 stores all over the Ontario territory. The company believes that fresher doesn’t have to mean more expensive and they take great pride on their produce department. As for their products, they just have anything you might need or you can try new things that you didn’t even know that existed.
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The Guardian Pharmacy chain is owned by the US health-care giant, McKesson Corp. The IDA Pharmacy chain is also owned by McKesson Corp and so the two pharmacy chains are somewhat of a package deal in Canada, today. The first Guardian Pharmacy store was founded in 1964. Guardian Pharmacy stores can be found in nine of the ten Canadian provinces - excluding only Quebec - plus the Northwest Territories. All Guardian Pharmacy (and IDA Pharmacy) stores are independently owned and operated by pharmacists. There are 459 Guardian Pharmacy stores in Canada and over 900 Guardian and IDA pharmacy stores in Canada, combined.
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Rolland Jeanneau founded the company in 1947 with many independent grocery store owners joining him to form the Magasins Lasalle Stores Ltée. The store would then change its name to Épiceries Lasalle Groceteria in 1952. The company had then 43 affiliated grocery stores which went up to 50 franchised stores with a $ 2 million dollars revenue. In 1956 an ad at La Presse that featured turkeys sold for 39 cents put the company on the map. Then, inspired by the up coming metro in Montreal they changed their name once again and decided to call the company Metro. The number of afiliate stores at the time went up to 73 in 1957 and the revenue went up to $ 10 million dollars.
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Rexall is a Canadian Drugstore chain and one of Canada’s most trusted Pharmacy brands, that dates back over 100 years. The first Rexall store was established in Canada in 1904. Rexall has joined with Pharma Plus, originally known as Tamblyn Drugs and is a member of the Rexall Pharmacy Group Ltd, which is owned by McKesson Corporation. Today there are more than 450 Rexall and Rexall Pharma Plus locations, employing over 8,600 staff. There are Rexall stores in 180 communities across Canada, in the provinces of Ontario, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, British Columbia and Alberta. Rexall also operates a division called Rexall Specialty Pharmacy which provides specialized clinical care and complex medication management services.
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