(WINDSOR, ON) – Customers were lining up Saturday at the new Metro grocery store, on the south side of Devonshire Mall, for free coffee and strawberry shortcake, made with fresh strawberries. After closing a converted former A&P grocery store on Huron Church, Metro set about to bring its latest modern concept in full-service to Windsor.
Sleek and modern is how many described the store, with its dominant black, white, and red décor. The new store had a host of packaged and ready-to-eat foods, including sushi and pizza, as well as staffed meat and seafood on offer.
Metro’s roots date back to 1947 and the creation of a buying group in Quebec. It allowed a number of then-independent small grocers to purchase in greater quantities. This ensured a competitive market position.
In 1956, the Metro brand first appeared as a division of Les Épiceries Lasalle Groceteria ltée. It wasn’t until 1972 that the company brought out its first supermarket concept, entering the high-end of grocery retailing. By 1986, Metro-Richelieu, as it became known, had its shares listed on the Montreal stock exchange.
Next followed a series of expansions in which it purchased a few of its competitors, including discount chain Le Ferme Carnaval, in Quebec, and two grocers with operations in Windsor, Steinberg and A&P Canada.
By 2016, the company had become the nation’s third largest grocer with sales that year of $2.9 Billon, primarily from its operations in Ontario and Quebec.
In an April report on Toronto’s Top 12 grocery stores, this year, IGD Retail Analysis program director, Stewart Samuel, included one of Metro’s newest stores, which shares a layout with Windsor’s. It is, reported Samuel, based on Metro’s, “‘WOW’ innovation format program.”
The initiative was introduced to, “… create real points of difference between Metro and its competitors.”
Samuel says the company’s key strengths include food-to-go which it, “… has been able to showcase in this urban focused store. The hot food offer includes a range of artisanal pizzas, hot entrees, baked potatoes, and rotisserie chicken.”
If there was a negative heard at the opening from customers, it is a localized concern. Many complained that the store, like a few others in the mall, including Old Navy and Mark’s, did not have a doorway to the mall concourse.