Revitalization

More Details on New Downtown Supermarket

By Ryan McGreal
Published August 18, 2012

The new Nations Fresh Food supermarket coming to Jackson Square will be a full-service grocery store. The company opening the store, Oceans Fresh Food Group, is still working with Yale Properties, the company that manages Jackson Square, to finalize the design before the store opens next spring.

In an email response to RTH, Yale Properties licencing manager Jocelyn Mainville explained that the store will provide a full suite of grocery staples as well as a wide variety of ethnic foods. "I can buy anything that I need for my family (me, hubby and 2 boys) in addition to having access to a wide range of products (including meat and produce) that I have never seen before."

The store will in the west end of Jackson Square, in the area that was recently used as a temporary home for the Farmers' Market while its permanent location on York Blvd was being renovated.

The new Nations Fresh Food supermarket will open in the west end of Jackson Square in the former temporary site of the Farmers' Market
The new Nations Fresh Food supermarket will open in the west end of Jackson Square in the former temporary site of the Farmers' Market

It sounds like the new store will open directly onto Bay Street. Mainville writes, "Nations is still designing the store, we will see more (renderings) in the coming weeks."

In addition, shoppers will be able to park in the underground parking garage beneath Jackson Swuare. According to Mainville, "There will be a parking promotion with a minimum purchase. We are also installing two new (large) passenger elevators allowing patrons to take their grocery carts right down into the underground parking."

No Supermarket Grant

Earlier this summer, Glen Norton, the City of Hamilton's Urban Renewal manager, presented a staff recommendation to Councillors to offer a one-time forgivable loan of up to $650,000 to encourage a new supermarket downtown. Council took a dim view of the proposal.

RTH contacted Norton to ask about the announcement of the new Nations Fresh Food store. Norton confirmed that the store is opening without any special grants or other incentives from the City. Back in June, Norton told Council that there were a number of discussions ongoing about a potential grocery store, and that a business might go ahead and commit to get ahead of possible competition for a grant.

Asked whether the $650,000, which is already allocated for downtown investment in the 2012 budget, could be used instead to make the Gore Park pedestrian plaza permanent, Norton wrote, " we will have to take new proposals for the money to Council. Gore could certainly be one of those."

Ryan McGreal, the editor of Raise the Hammer, lives in Hamilton with his family and works as a programmer, writer and consultant. Ryan volunteers with Hamilton Light Rail, a citizen group dedicated to bringing light rail transit to Hamilton. Ryan writes a city affairs column in Hamilton Magazine, and several of his articles have been published in the Hamilton Spectator. He also maintains a personal website and has been known to post passing thoughts on Twitter @RyanMcGreal. Recently, he took the plunge and finally joined Facebook.

19 Comments

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By TnT (registered) | Posted August 18, 2012 at 09:45:44

How thrilling is it to see positive and creative thinking at City Hall?

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted August 19, 2012 at 23:15:19 in reply to Comment 79921

I tend to think this city succeeds in spite of city hall, not because of it.

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By Bubble Bureaucrat (anonymous) | Posted August 18, 2012 at 11:05:12

"a wide range of products (including meat and produce) that I have never seen before."

Yes, downtown Hamilton is famous for its white-bread culinary options.

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By TnT (registered) | Posted August 18, 2012 at 22:38:26

I think she was referring to at a major supermarket.

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By Pxtl (registered) - website | Posted August 19, 2012 at 23:15:58

The use of the underground parking and the cart-elevator makes this actually pretty darned exciting. That's even better than I imagined.

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted August 20, 2012 at 10:33:55 in reply to Comment 79940

Winter shopping will be much easier here than at regular supermarkets - you won't have to plow through the slush with your cart!

I live just up the mountain (Fennell/Upper Wellington) and this might become my "go to" supermarket - we'll have to see what it's like once it's open.

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By ThisIsOurHamilton (registered) - website | Posted August 20, 2012 at 11:02:29

Imagine how different things might look if there's an additional player in the game by this time next year. Such as The Mustard Seed initiative.

Certainly the two primary future developments in the downtown-core (King-Bay-Hess-Main and The Great Nexus to the north-east) will need to be serviced by more than the options we currently have at our disposal.

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By seancb (registered) - website | Posted August 20, 2012 at 11:22:21

Now all we need is a casino and the rejuvenation of the core will be complete! Then we can go back to our regularly scheduled program of building sprawl!

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By Today (anonymous) | Posted August 20, 2012 at 19:03:07

Ah yes, the magical play-your-cards trick. Whatever works though for the general public, go for it as they say.

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By Ewww (anonymous) | Posted August 20, 2012 at 20:09:24

I am not coming from a racist background, but ethnic stores dont appeal to the wealthier clientel that want supermarket fare. That is probably not political correct, but there it is. From a business standpoint it needs to be like the Fortinos/Loblaws chains that appeal to the wider population. Seeing goat heads and an array of mystery meat in a deli is a turn off to some people.

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By jason (registered) | Posted August 21, 2012 at 11:06:43 in reply to Comment 79963

I'm not sure this applies in Hamilton. Fortino's began as an 'ethnic' food market catering to the huge European population here. The Barn (new Metro) started as a stall in the farmers market, and I'm guessing they weren't selling pop tarts and coke. Denningers started in Hamilton and now has locations all over the metro area.

Immigration stats, and a walk around town, will show you that the new Europeans are Asians. A store that carries traditional 'Canadian grocery store' fare alongside foods catering to that massive immigrant population is actually a great recipe for success if Fortino's and Denningers are any indication.

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By Jonathan Dalton (registered) | Posted August 20, 2012 at 22:17:01 in reply to Comment 79963

So it has to cater on only white people to be successful? That doesn't sound like a good business decision in downtown Hamilton.

Check out their flyer http://oceansfood.ca/oceans1.jpg

Back ribs, sirloin steak.. looks like they have a bit of everything, including even normal white people food.

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted August 20, 2012 at 22:12:44 in reply to Comment 79963

Did you check out the youtube video?

While I can think of some "ethnic stores" that would not attract wealthier clientele, this one appears to be high end, clean, bright and attractive - similar to the T&T Chain in Toronto (by way of Vancouver), which, while catering primarily to asians, is popular with a number of demographics (including one store that has 100% Halal meat).

As long as they carry the basic brands people want, I don't think wealthier clientele will be turned off because there is dragon fruit and bok choy next to their apples and carrots.

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted August 20, 2012 at 22:13:37 in reply to Comment 79966

Sorry, youtube video was in the other thread. Here it is:

This video of the 52,000 sq. ft. Oceans Fresh supermarket in Mississauga provides a general glimpse of the approximate size, store layout and products to be offered at the 55,000 sq. ft. Nations Fresh supermarket coming to Jackson Square: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xo8rCYzc

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted August 20, 2012 at 22:16:35 in reply to Comment 79967

This was the original video I tried to link to:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8xo8rCYzc-U

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By Robert D (anonymous) | Posted August 20, 2012 at 22:14:51 in reply to Comment 79967

Okay, maybe this link will work:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O5-B6OsU6tE

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By Henry and Joe (anonymous) | Posted August 20, 2012 at 22:18:22

^Actually, I tend to think that this town was built on immigrant food stores. The Di Pietro and the Fortino families built small empires by catering to hard working ethnic groups. When Safeway came in from the west and ignored the dominant immigrant populations, they failed miserably. Fortino's, had huge advantage as Di Pietro's was unable to make the leap from from 1st to 2nd generation and then proceeded to capitalize on the mistakes of other milquetoast chains like Safeway and A&P.

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By MattJelly (registered) - website | Posted August 27, 2012 at 10:20:10

I had a chance to stop in at the Oceans Fresh in Mississauga over the weekend- photos at the link.

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=...

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By Carl Wright (anonymous) | Posted September 11, 2012 at 13:55:18

I for one would like to see the $650,000 used for the Gore Park pedestrian plaza. I believe it would be a better investment than more grocery stores!

www.houstonresto.com

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