Shoppers were coming in “droves” to one of the two new Chalo! FreshCo locations for the official openings.
The Newton and Strawberry Hill locations opened to public Thursday (July 11), with the Strawberry Hill store hosting an “opening ceremony” that included a ribbon cutting and a bhangra performance. The first 1,000 customers at each store received a free one-pound stick of butter.
The Chalo! locations are an extension of the discount grocery chain, FreshCo. The stores have replaced the previous Safeway locations.
Newton and Strawberry Hill are the first two Chalo! stores in B.C. There are currently four already in Ontario.
The franchisees at the stores also each donated $5,000 in Chalo! FreshCo gift cards to the Surrey Food Bank.
Chris Phillipson, franchisee for the Newton store, said that customers were coming in “droves” into the store from opening at 8 a.m. through to midday.
“Generally in the grocery industry, the highest points of the day are 3 to 6 p.m. or 3 to 7 p.m., so I’m a little nervous,” Phillipson said with a laugh. “I don’t know if we can get much crazier. The parking lot is full.”
— Lauren Collins (@laurenpcollins1) July 11, 2019
The two stores are branded as Chalo! FreshCo locations, which are geared “heavily” toward the South Asian community.
“Obviously where we are located here in Newton, as well as in Strawberry Hill, is a heavy population of South Asians, so we’re just catering to the surround community,” he said.
Phillipson said “chalo” means “let’s go” in Hindi and Punjabi. He said some of the customers throughout the day picked up on the name meaning.
“They were excited. They read that to believe that this would be a heavy South Asian in the way of what we have.”
Both stores, according to a release about the openings, will stock an “expansive” South Asian product assortment, and will feature products from two local businesses – TaQwa Halal Foods and Fraserview Meats and Seafood.
Grand opening of Chalo Freshco in Newton Town Center. Lineups outside to get in. pic.twitter.com/TLwfELBevf
— Doug Elford (@delford) July 11, 2019