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CPMA kicks off with retail tour

cpma 2023 retail tour

TORONTO, ON—What better way to start a produce show than a retail tour? The Canadian Produce Marketing Association’s BB #:153602 Convention & Trade Show in Toronto kicked off April 25 with a sold-out five-stop retail tour.

This year’s tour featured examples from Canada’s Big Three: Loblaws, Sobeys, and Metro, each with a different twist.

For my bus the first stop was a new banner for me: Farm Boy. Farm Boy, an independent acquired by Sobeys parent Empire Co. in 2018, has been expanding rapidly and now operates about 50 stores. The location we visited was a newer concept for the retailer, with heavy emphasis on own brands, fresh foods, and in-store foodservice.

Next up was a unique take on Canada’s big player: Loblaw Cos. This store had an historic twist, as it was located in the company’s original warehouse building opened in 1928, and abandoned in 2000. It underwent a massive renovation and restoration and re-opened in 2020.

The third stop was a familiar Metro location, but it was revisited for good reason. It’s the highest-selling store for organics for the banner, was the first store to offer fresh-squeezed juice, and remains the top performer for Metro in this category.

We took a different take on Sobeys for the next visit, at the company’s franchised Fresh Co. discount banner. The produce department was large, with a wide assortment for a discounter, and recently launched an organic produce program.

Our final stop was Sobeys – the top produce performer for the Nova Scotia-based retailer. It was easy to see why. This was a fabulous produce department — bright, cheerful, informative, fresh, full – it doesn’t get much better for this retailer.

I hope you enjoyed a quick look around. Stay tuned for more from CPMA 2023.


Pamela Riemenschneider is the Retail Editor for Blue Book Services.