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Grocery store chain with food court, arcade, and playground plans Canadian expansion

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Kenneth Chan May 28, 2018 4:40 pm 9,844

This is what a hybrid of Loblaws City Market, T&T Supermarket, Chuck E. Cheese’s, and Playdium looks like; an upstart Ontario-based grocery chain has big plans to disrupt the very idea of what a grocery store is supposed to be.

Nations Experience has plans to expand nationwide in each major Canadian city, according to Retail Insider. It currently has four locations in Vaughan, Hamilton, and Mississauga, and just last fall it opened within the former Target space in the Stockyards District of Toronto.

Nations Experience Toronto Stockyards

Inside Nations Experience at the Stockyards in Toronto. (Frank Ho / YouTube screenshot)

And this is not a boutique-sized grocery store: its newest location in the Stockyards is 155,000 sq. ft., and it is packed with mixed-use retail, dining, and entertainment – making it a so-called “FoodTainment” destination.

In terms of floor area, the Toronto store is larger than most Walmart Supercentres, with the exception that the chain’s grocery model focuses high-quality multicultural goods at value prices and the stores have a much greater emphasis on the aesthetics of the interior design.

Nations Experience Toronto Stockyards

Inside Nations Experience at the Stockyards in Toronto. (Frank Ho / YouTube screenshot)

Nations Experience Toronto Stockyards

Inside Nations Experience at the Stockyards in Toronto. (Frank Ho / YouTube screenshot)

The chain, founded just six years ago, expands the grocery store concept to include a multicultural food court with a cafe, Chinese BBQ, Eastern Kitchen, Western Kitchen, Buffet, Sushi Island, Burger Station, Salad Station, Pizzeria, Juice and Bubble Tea stand, and a Pho Restaurant.

The recently opened Toronto location has a 30,000-sq-ft entertainment area with dozens of arcade games, an indoor children’s playground with giant ball pit, and party rooms for family outings and birthday parties, akin to Chuck E. Cheese’s. There is also a mall-like corridor with retail units that will be leased out to restaurants and other service-based businesses.

Nations Experience Toronto Stockyards

Inside Nations Experience at the Stockyards in Toronto. (Frank Ho / YouTube screenshot)

Nations Experience Toronto Stockyards

Inside Nations Experience at the Stockyards in Toronto. (Frank Ho / YouTube screenshot)

Nations Experience, founded just six years ago, is now seeking to replicate its successful model nationwide, with locations in BC and possibly additional locations within the Greater Toronto market.

Large vacant retail spaces left by the now-defunct Target Canada and Sears Canada chains could be ideal spaces for the business.

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Kenneth Chan
National Features Editor at Daily Hive, the evolution of Vancity Buzz. He covers local architecture, urban issues, politics, business, retail, economic development, transportation and infrastructure, and the travel industry. Kenneth is also a Co-Founder of New Year's Eve Vancouver. Connect with him at kenneth[at]dailyhive.com

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