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CPMA kicks off with retail tour

cpma 2024 retail tour

VANCOUVER, British Columbia — The Canadian Produce Marketing Association Convention & Trade Show kicked off in Vancouver on April 23 with a retail tour featuring three stops.

The first stop is a familiar format for me, a City Market banner from Loblaws. And, by coincidence, this was a newly-opened example in a historic building—just like last year’s from the former Loblaws headquarters, and the City Market in Maple Leaf Gardens in Toronto, and the Provigo we’ve visited adjacent to a historic train station in Montreal.

City Markets have a knack for springing up in historic real estate.

This example, a franchise location which opened in February, is housed in the former Vancouver downtown post office. Like every City Market, it has the bright orange floor and striking black and white tile theme, along with a heavy influence on prepared foods, which makes sense for the lunchtime crowd of office workers nearby. Amazon offices take up the rest of the historic building, and are a main source of traffic for the lunchtime crowd.

The produce department was front and center, with all that you’d expect. I was paying close attention to the prices, and noticed several items under the Naturally Imperfect brand. Avocados, for example, were $2 each, but a bag of six under the Naturally Imperfect brand was $10.

Stop 2 was a T&T Supermarket around the corner from Rogers Arena, home of the Vancouver Canucks (who played on April 23, by the way, so there were plenty of people milling around getting ready for the game).

I’ve seen this store before, and it doesn’t didn’t disappoint. There were plenty of delicious smells coming from the prepared foods department, and I took home a few interesting items from the produce department, including a six-count package of peeled tiny pineapples that were just delightful, and a fancy Chinese apple that I had to try to see if it lived up to my apple standards. (Watch the video to the end to see what I thought.)

Stop 3 was a Save-On-Foods location in North Vancouver. CPMA really outdid itself with the beautiful day and a drive through Stanley Park and across the Lion’s Gate Bridge to get to this location, and back across the water on a sea bus, too! The produce department was the largest we saw of the three stores, which made sense since this wasn’t an urban format store. There were several really nice promotional displays, including one geared toward fresh juice and juicing at home.

And it didn’t hurt that the cheese case next to produce was fully stocked with samples while we were visiting.


Pamela Riemenschneider is the Retail Editor for Blue Book Services.