Those waiting for the massive new Loblaws City Market in downtown Vancouver to open can now start counting down the final weeks.
The 40,000-foot grocery store, one of the largest in downtown Vancouver and the surrounding neighbourhoods, is set to open in late January/early February at The Post building (underneath the Amazon officer towers).
"By the end of the first week of February people will be eating food from City Market," says store co-owner Dave Sherwood.
Sherwood and his wife, Rhonda, are behind the new Loblaws-branded store at The Post building (658 Homer St.). They've spent a fair amount of time in the industry; most recently they owned (and sold) the City Market at Park Royal in West Vancouver, deciding to take on the incoming store. Several of their managers have followed to the new store.
The new City Market was originally due to be open in September, and then the target opening was pushed to December. Sherwood explains that while construction crews have been "phenomenal," unforeseen delays have pushed back the date further. However, the store should be put together by the end of December. Staff will then begin training ahead of the launch.
"The last person will be hired in the first week of January," Sherwood says. "Even if you're a part-time cashier you're going to get three to four weeks of training."
Many employees have already been hired; they're working as well, even though the store isn't open. Instead of stocking shelves or ringing up customers, they've got other odd jobs, like keeping the place tidy.
What to expect in the new grocery store
The huge grocery store will bring a lot of variety to the downtown core, says Sherwood, including options for value shoppers (like Loblaws' iconic No Name brand) and foodies.
One side of the store will be dedicated to fresh and ready-to-eat options, with a long list of in-house made options, including pizza-by-the-slice, more than a dozen soups and curries, sausages, and a carving station with seasonal roasted options.
Even the ground beef will be ground on-site.
Among the other store features are full-time cake decorators, two big cheese coolers with international and local options (which Rhonda will curate), and an Indigenous business display.
"We want to have a certain area dedicated to some of the great Indigenous products that are available in B.C.," says Sherwood; the display isn't set up, but an area near the front of the store has been set aside.
Local businesses will also be integrated into the grocery store.
Sherwood also wants to make sure the store is making sure as much food as possible that enters the store is being eaten. To that end, they're partnering with the food bank while also using the Flashfood app, which allows the store to sell food nearing expiration at heavily discounted prices. Sherwood explains the food won't be spoiled, but items nearing their sell-by date or with other imperfections.
Sherwood says the new store's hours are expected to be 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily with a chance of later nights due to special events.