Windsor Ontario News / Food & Retail

Price difference at the checkout counter? You have protection June 27 2017

Was the scanned price of an item at the supermarket cash not what you though it would cost?

You have some protection.

Most major grocery and non-grocery retailers follow what’s known as the Scanner Price Accuracy Voluntary Code.

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In a first, Windsor and county BIAs team to market to American shoppers May 23 2017

For the first time the city and county BIAs are teaming up to pitch to Americans just how great Windsor-Essex is as an area in which to play and shop.

The campaign - which includes traditional media ads in newspapers and radio as well as on online sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – will intersperse various of the city’s BIAs along with county business associations.

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With rising prices, Dollarama's opting for credit cards might make sense May 5 2017

Dollarama is finally allowing you to charge your purchase with a credit card.

Customers might think that only makes sense given the steady rise – if only by a few bucks – of many Dollarama products in recent years.

It’s also good merchandising strategy, say retail analysts.

Until recently, the Montreal-based chain, which actually dates to a family store in 1910 - has only accepted cash or debit.

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Privacy a non-issue as Canada Post helps advertisers target customers March 6 2017

Canada Post is now helping businesses attract preferred customers through the use of postal codes.

But customers shouldn’t be concerned about losing their privacy, Canada Post says.

Up to now companies could send brochures or flyers to customers by identifying letter carrier routes, but this could be overly broad in scope.

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"Delicious" non-alcoholic wine, beer January 12 2017

An up and coming Toronto-based company wants non-alcoholic wine and beer to be as delicious as the real thing.

Hill Street Beverage Co. is bottling several private label wines but is best known for its MADD Virgin Drinks brand, which offers several types of wine, champagne and beer.

The MADD product is widely available at Shoppers Drug Marts and is carried in some 3000 stores across Canada, CEO Terry Donnelly said.

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"About" grocery express checkouts Sept. 8 2016

A Detroit Area supermarket is doing away with signage indicating the exact number of items allowed through the express checkout.

But the trend doesn’t seem to be catching on in Canada.

Kroger’s is introducing signs saying “about 15 items” rather than “15 items or less” or some other number.

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Store connects artists with customers July 22 2016

A Windsor store is on the cutting edge in giving artists a place to sell their work.

The Urban Art Market, which opened in January, solved the problems of where artists can display and sell work when they otherwise might not be able to afford a storefront.
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Dollar Tree Canada versus Dollarama June 21 2016

It’s the price guarantee that might stand out more than anything.

Unlike one of its main competitors, Dollarama, Vancouver-based Dollar Tree Canada sells every item in the store for $1.25 – and $1.25 only.

It’s such an important marketing tool that Dollar Tree posts separate window signs advertising that fact.

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There's a new grocery sheriff in Towne May 26 2016

There’s a new sheriff - a grocery sheriff - in town and she plans to shake things up.

She’s Jennifer Hazelton, and she’s the new owner of Westside Foods in Olde Sandwich Towne.

Hazelton and her dad Robert bought the Westside grocery almost a year ago and have slowly been making changes.

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Not just awesome, it's Hawesome April 8 2016

It’s an awesome name for a candy shop.

In fact, it’s the Hawesome Candy Shop and it’s located in LaSalle.

The shop, with a decided “retro” product line, opened about a year ago and is soon to expand its hours.

It’s located on Front Road in a building that used to be a restaurant serving Mediterranean food.

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Iconic LL Bean store coming to area March 8 2016

The venerable LL Bean outdoor wear and merchandise store is coming to the Detroit area.

The Maine-based LL Bean, which dates from 1912, will open a 14,000 sq. ft. store this summer at the Mall of Partridge Creek.

This will be a full retail store and not an outlet, said LL Bean spokesman Mac McKeever.

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US merchants' credit card terminals may reject Canadian chip cards February 18 2016

Canadians may find their credit cards rejected when travelling to the US.

It might be because of new credit card chip technology that American merchants are still getting used to.

As of Last October 1 all merchants doing credit card transactions had to have the technology in place.

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Community mailboxes made in the USA February 1 2016

Canada Post continues its secrecy over why it ordered its new community mail boxes from an American and not a traditionally-used Canadian firm.

“Canada Post has rigorous procurement processes, is subject to NAFTA and is a key enabler and contributor to the Canadian economy,” was all that post office spokeswoman Anik Losier told in an email.

A follow up call requesting details of the contract was not returned.

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You have just one chance to get it right December 12 2015

To claim a big cash prize or car in a draw at Caesars Windsor you must answer correctly a skill testing question – a relatively simple math question – or lose the prize.

No ifs, ands, or buts.

That's despite suggestions on the web or in a recent item in a Detroit newspaper that, if you err, you get more chances to answer the question until you get it right.

Casino spokeswoman Jhoan Baluyot says it's the law - the question must be asked for Caesars to be in compliance with the Criminal Code of Canada.

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A'burg's D'Angelo's B.C. winery unaffected by provincial wild fires August 25 2015

Amherstburg’s Sal D’Angelo wasn’t at all affected by the wild fires that blew though his province this month.

D’Angelo, who still has his winery in the burg - run by his son Christopher - moved to southern British Columbia about 15 years ago for health reasons, where he started his second vineyard, also known as D’Angelo Estate Winery.

“There’s fires to the left of me there’s fires to the right of me, how does that song go?” he said, only partly joking, from his farm along Lake Okanagan on the Naramata Bench, just north of Penticton.

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Gluten-free bakery eyeing expansion August 14 2015

Healthy Creations - Windsor’s first full-fledged gluten-free bakery - is considering expanding to a second location, likely in Tecumseh.

The small bakery in south Windsor, with a second location in London and a bake factory on County Rd. 46, opened in 2009 and now offers a diversified variety of sole-sourced (their own) baked goods.

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Local meat market envisions 20 stores throughout southwestern Ontario June 19 2015

M. R. (Mister) Meat Market is a fast growing chain with ambitious plans.

The Windsor-based market will soon open a third joint grocery store with Joseph’s Produce.

That is expected to happen the end of July on Walker Road in the south Windsor big box retail district.

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Where do those plastic bag charges go? May 15 2015

Rest assured those few cents you pay for a plastic shopping bag - those of you who still steel yourselves to pay for one - goes not to fill grocery company coffers but to charity.

At Loblaw, which owns Zehrs, No Frills and Real Canadian Superstore, the five cent purchase aims “to reduce the number of shopping bags in use, not collect nickels,” says the company’s public relations office.

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"Fair bit of interest" in Devonshire's former Target location - manager April 14 2015

There’s plenty of interest in the former Target location at Devonshire Mall.

Mall manager Chris Savard doesn’t expect the more than 121,000 sq. ft. store space to remain empty for long.

“We’re exploring a number of options but nothing is firm at this point,” he said.

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Wal-Mart Photo lawsuit? You may be eligible

Were you the victim of a data breach using Wal-Mart Photocentre and, for example, incurred fraudulent charges on your credit card? You’re eligible to apply for compensation under a court settlement to victims of the “data security incident”, says the Canadian Merchant Law Group. You would have to have used the Wal-Mart Photocentre website between June 1 2014 and July 10 2015. Out-of-pocket expenses would be compensated at the rate of $15/hour for five hours “spent remedying the losses,” Merchant Law says. You’d have to present documents to back your claim. If no documents, you may receive $15/hour for up to two hours. There’s $400,000 in the overall pot with money dispersed on a first-come basis. The agreement also provides funds for free credit monitoring services. Claims and more information can be obtained at – 27/6/17

A bistro in a grocery

A bistro in a supermarket? It seems all the rage though not, alas, in Windsor. Never fear. If you want that continental touch after buying the tomatoes and paper towels (a green product of course) you can go to the new Whole Foods Market opening at 2100 East Maple in Birmingham, Mi. in August. Cafes are popping up in other groceries elsewhere and the bistro concept has proved a hit. “This is without a doubt the most popular type of venue we put in our new stores,” Whole Foods’ Scott Salsbury told the Detroit Free Press. – 4/5/17

Two local festivals make the grade

Two local festivals have made Festivals & Events Ontario’s Top 12 list of provincial “food and food-themed” events. The LaSalle Strawberry Festival, entering its 30th year, runs June 8 – 11 and features a carnival, parade, live entertainment and vendors. And the 42nd annual Tecumseh Corn Festival runs Aug 24 – 27, and hosts a “spectacular variety of family entertainment, contests,” says the non-profit Kitchener-based organization that promotes festivals. There are some 100 provincial festivals with food themes, the organization, which also markets and provides education, says. – 8/4/17

Air Miles quite contrite

Air Miles got into a lot of hot water when it decided not to honor customers’ points beyond five years. But just two days after it appeared before an Ontario legislative committee examining cancellation policies for loyalty programs, the company’s parent LoyaltyOne, switched gears and decided to allow the points after all. In an email to customers, Air Miles’ head Blair Cameron was quite contrite. He said Canada’s “favourite loyalty program” did not “live up” to that standard. “2016 was a challenging year, and we learned very difficult, public and humbling lessons,” he said. Cameron said Air Miles going forward in fact will be improving services for wait times and the “online experience.” – 15/3/17

Upcoming Metro stores announcement

Metro stores is planning a major announcement for the Windsor area. Next Friday company officials will be in Windsor alongside Mayor Drew Dilkens to make “a special announcement about our planned investment in the Windsor market,” a news release says. “Over the coming months, Metro and Food Basics will invest a significant amount of capital in renovations, new store openings and our employees.” Officials will discuss plans for Metro and its discount chain Food Basics “as well as how they’re planning on giving back through our community investment programs.” No word on whether this goes beyond what the public has already been told about Metro’s local investments. This includes a future Metro at the former Target store space at Devonshire Mall, and about the recent conversion of a Metro to a Food Basics at University Plaza. – 17/2/16

HMV mall store closing

Just when you may have thought one local mall store was impervious to online shopping, it’s closure has now been announced. HMV Canada’s large Devonshire Mall store will be closing in the coming weeks as part of a general closure of all HMV outlets in Canada. A sales associate at the store said no date has been set for the closure. “It could be tomorrow, it could be next week or month, it depends on how sales are going.” Indeed, the British-based retail giant (whose UK business remains unaffected), says the closure is directly related to the decline in people purchasing physical CDs and DVDs. “The market for CDs & DVDs in Canada has experienced more significant declines in each of the last two years than has been seen in most other major markets,” a Jan. 27 release said. HMV has 102 Canadian outlets. – 2/2/17

Ontario doesn't end at London, LCBO says

Hockey is big. And rivalries - especially between Detroit Red Wings and Toronto Maple Leafs fans – are no more intense than in southwestern Ontario. So when a customer recently was told he couldn’t buy the Crown Royal Special Edition Maple Leafs bottle with accompany glasses (price: $34.45) – he was a little miffed and thought “Here we go again, Ontario ends at London.” Not true, says LCBO spokeswoman Christine Bujold. The bottle is available throughout the LCBO network and isn’t restricted simply because Windsor might be considered more of a Red Wings market. If it’s not in the store, she said, simply tell a clerk to order it through LCBO’s inter-store shipping system. – 12/12/16

Millennials - who else? - drive wine in a can

Millennials may be too busy – or lazy - to eat cereal out of a bowl, as recent news reports suggest. But it’s the same reason they’re also behind a new product now on LCBO shelves – wine in cans. “This time-strapped segment of the consuming public demands convenience, accessibility and approachability when purchasing wine (and almost anything else), and a can provides just that,” the government alcohol agency says. This spring and summer Big House Pinot Grigio and Zinfandel wines from California have been making an appearance in cans. The 250 mL cans price at $3.95 and are sold as singles. That’s to “encourage customers to give the wine – and packaging – a try,” LCBO says. If you like “local” wines Niagara-on-the-Lake’s Between the Lines winery is also coming out with a sparkling VQA in a tin. A three-pack sells for $17.85. – 2/8/16

Walmart's bag charge

Walmart Canada, one of the last hold outs for providing shoppers free plastic bags, no longer does so. In fact the retailer started charging for bags – five cents – in February. Walmart said it is being a good steward of the environment. “A reduction of single-use shopping bags represents a tremendous opportunity to minimize the amount of waste being sent to landfills,” the store said. The chain says it’s also working with suppliers “to develop innovative packaging that reduces the need for bags.” Unlike grocery stores, though, Walmart had offered plastic bags in different sizes given the large variety of products it sells. Retail analyst Doug Stephens told CBC Walmart was “late to the table” in charging for bags. Walmart did not return a request for comment. – 7/7/16

Credit union leaving DT for Roundhouse

The province's largest credit union is moving its sole local branch from the city core for the EC Row Expressway/Howard Avenue, Devonshire Mall/Roundhouse Centre commercial axis. Meridian credit union, with HQ in St. Catharines and which has more than 250,000 members and $13 billion under management, will be moving into a higher profile but slightly smaller branch in a new pad at the Roundhouse Centre July 25. The current branch is at 545 Ouellette between Wyandotte St. and Maiden Lane. Windsor branch manager Rolanda Taib said there were “a number” of reasons for the move. Roundhouse “is going to afford us a lot of visibility and awareness, vehicle traffic is so high, lots of residential areas around there.” The Meridian branch is the former Desjardins Credit Union, which merged with what was the original Niagara region-focussed Meridian in 2011 and converted its branches by 2012. Meanwhile, the Windsor Family Credit Union, which opened its rather high profile branch in the former CHWI TV studio at the corner of Ouellette and University two years ago, says it's downtown for the long term. WFCU president Eddie Francis wished Meridian well. Francis also said: “Most people probably lose sight of the fact that there are a lot of residential units in the downtown core.” – 22/6/16

LCBO targetting Yanks

You might be forgiven for thinking an LCBO billboard is targeted to Canadian cross-border shoppers. In fact, it’s targeted at Americans looking for booze bargains in Canada. One of the billboards, on Sandwich St., announces "Cross-border shopping? Your favorites at the LCBO." At first it seems puzzling. Is the LCBO indirectly suggesting Canadians are shopping stateside, especially when Canucks can’t bring back liquor without duty until after 48 hours, and even then only a couple of bottles. Unless of course they’re smuggling (perish the thought). But, says LCBO spokeswoman Keeley Rogers, the campaign is designed to have Americans buy in LCBO stores. The campaign follows stats which show more Americans buying booze in Canada, despite generally higher prices. “LCBOs near border crossings (Windsor, Niagara) have recently observed an uptick in out-of-country customers,” she said. For example, the downtown University Avenue W. store has seen an up to 34 per cent sales increase from people outside of Canada. That’s a 10 per cent increase over last year. Rogers said it’s believe the exchange rate is playing a major part. “The ads are intended to generate awareness for the LCBO brand” and that many products can only be purchased in Ontario, she said. – 20/5/16

Chatham's Le Chateau store on the cusp?

Le Chateau has not announced the closure of any stores in Windsor and Chatham, at least for now. But the Montreal-based retailer has said it plans to close as many as 40 underperforming stores over the next three years. Calls to Devonshire and Tecumseh Mall stores indicate staff believe the stores will stay open although it looks like the Chatham store (pictured above) will close. Le Chateau closed 11 stores last year and plans to close 14 this year. Spokesman Pierre Boucher said the chain doesn’t disclose which stores are closing until about a month beforehand, for obvious competitive reasons. “Our employees are going to be made aware maybe a month in advance,” he said. As well, it’s possible some stores on the cusp might not close at all if their sales improve. – 19/4/16

Photo: Downtown Chatham Centre

Lower loonie has little impact at these malls

The plunging Canadian dollar doesn’t seem to have made that great a difference – at least for now - for Canucks shopping north of the border. Steve Berlow of Great Lakes Crossing Outlets in Auburn Hills, says his mall probably doesn’t see the drop off in shoppers like other malls do. “We’re less impacted,” he says, noting “we have a number of stores that are unique to the market which makes us a little bit different from other types of venues.” The mall advertises extensively in Windsor through billboards, radio and print as well as a banner at the tunnel. Berlow says the mall “actively searches out the motor coach industry” and even has a tourist marketer who makes inroads into Canada, as far as London. He hasn’t heard of any shops selling at Canadian par, however. Meanwhile in Windsor Devonshire Mall manager Chris Savard says it’s “hard to quantify” whether the low loonie has translated into increased American shoppers. “That said, we have heard from a number of retailers who tell us that they are in fact seeing an increase,” he said. – 8/1/16