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Foodtastic hits a homerun with Shoeless Joe’s acquisition

June 14, 2022

Foodtastic hits a homerun with Shoeless Joe’s acquisition

Foodtastic Inc. continues to strategically build its restaurant portfolio with the acquisition of a majority interest in Shoeless Joe's Sports Grill.
A neighbourhood sports bar, the first Shoeless Joe’s Sports Grill opened on Eglinton Avenue in Toronto in 1985 and soon attracted the attention of investor Fred Lopreiato, who saw major potential in the brand. As owner, Lopreiato kicked off expansion and introduced franchising in 1997, growing the concept nationally.Today the sports-themed casual dining restaurant chain has 22 restaurants across Canada. 
Named for Joe Jackson, who came from a poor family in Pickens County, South Carolina and persisted to become one of the greatest hitters of all time, the restaurants offer the ultimate sports experience. Designed with the fan in mind, the environment celebrates all things sports in an energetic well-designed space that is meant to cultivate community, camaraderie and excitement. 
There are two formats—the flagships are greater than 8,000 sq. ft., while the franchise format is usually about 4,500 to 5,500 sq. ft., ideally situated in urban markets and those with populations of more than 25,000.
With well-situated televisions for viewing pleasure and a vast menu of fan favourites rounding out the experience, the concept elevates the traditional sports bar. For instance, food items include, gourmet burgers and hand-stretched flatbreads, as well as delicious bar staples, like wings and nachos, and several health-conscious alternatives.
Shoeless Joe’s is a great fit for Foodtastic, which is the franchisor of multiple restaurant concepts, including Milestones, Pita Pit, Second Cup, La Belle et La Boeuf, Monza, Copper Branch, Carlos & Pepe's, Souvlaki Bar, Nickels, Au Coq, Rotisseries Fusée, Rotisseries Benny, Chocolato, Big Rig, La Chambre, L'Gros Luxe, Gatto Matto and Bacaro. 
“We are extremely happy to welcome Shoeless Joe's in our family. It is a great sports bar brand that will fit in perfectly in our restaurant portfolio,” says Peter Mammas, president, and CEO of Foodtastic. "We are excited that Frank Lopreiato will stay on board as an equity partner and lead the brand, we are also looking forward to working with all our new franchisees and growing Shoeless Joe's in Canada."The Foodtastic legacy started when three friends—Mammas with, Jacques and Lawrence (who left the company in 2020)—with a passion for the restaurant industry launched their first Montreal-based concept, La Belle et La Boeuf, in 2012. In 2016 they decided to become a multi-brand restaurant company and today Foodtastic is a leader in the restaurant franchising business, with more than 700 restaurants and $700 million in annualized sales, plus, the deep industry experience.Growth kicked into high gear for the company in late 2018 when it received a $47 million investment from Restaurant Royalty Partners, a joint venture between funds managed by Oaktree Capital Management, L.P. and JHR Capital LLC, to accelerate Foodtastic's strategy of acquiring brands with strong potential for growth.Despite the pandemic, Foodtastic is on a roll. In 2021, it acquired Second Cup, Pita Pit, Milestone’s and popular plant-based concept Copper Branch. The company has a sharp vision and the ability to take brand to the next level. 
"We are thrilled to join Foodtastic Inc. Our commitment to continually evolve the brand has played a major role in the success of our growth and ability to compete in this ever-changing landscape. We look forward to sharpening the enterprise with the acquisition," says Frank Lopreiato.
Between Lopreiato and the Foodtastic team, Shoeless Joe’s is in good hands and we can’t wait to see what they do next. 
At Think Retail, we are excited to work with this ambitious Quebec-based company, as the Foodtastic leadership team drives growth for some of Canada’s most high-profile restaurant brands. 
We’d love to hear what you think. Contact the Think Retail team. 

Oscar Wylee has a big vision for roll out in Canada

June 13, 2022

Oscar Wylee has a big vision for roll out in Canada

Eyewear and eye care company Oscar Wylee is celebrating the opening of its sixth store in Canada, less than a year after making its debut here. 
The new 1,094-sq.-ft. store is now open at Oshawa Centre, Durham Region’s largest shopping centre. Oscar Wylee is in good company at the two-storey shopping mall, which is located in Oshawa, Ont., just east of Toronto. The mall is home to more than 230 high-profile tenants. 
This is just the beginning for Oscar Wylee’s Canadian vision—three more locations will be announced soon and more growth is on the horizon.
The Australian company debuted here in 2021, opening at West Edmonton Mall in September, followed by 1,000-sq.-ft. stores at Halifax Shopping Centre and Market Mall in Calgary. In December, Oscar Wylee opened at Sherway Gardens in Etobicoke, Ont. 
All stores embody Oscar Wylee’s strong design ethos, which is welcoming and contemporary:  The spaces feature light wood floors and fixtures, with modern lightening for a stylish and professional shopping experience. 
Globally, Oscar Wylee is on fire—it’s an impressive trajectory for the family-run business that started as a small ecommerce operation selling glasses online-only. Brothers Jack and Bob Teoh purchased the company in 2012, opening the first physical stores in 2015. 
Since then, Oscar Wylee has gone from strength to strength, now operating more than 125 stores across three countries. The eyewear company looks to the long term with a strong vision of continued growth.
In Canada, markets of interest include, British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec.  Ideal spaces are 750 to 1,100 sq. ft. (20 ft. wide) in shopping malls and along busy high streets in proximity to fashion or general merchandise retailers.
This isn’t just a eyewear store: The concept sets itself apart through its joint-venture program, whereby it partners with optometrists to provide a one-stop-store that offers professional eye care and exams, as well as a modern and fashion-focused retail experience. The brand is known for its attractive prices and designs. Plus, with its private label signature frames and sunglasses, Oscar Wylee offers unique items shoppers can’t get elsewhere. 
The excitement continues and Think Retail is thrilled to work with the Oscar Wylee team. This is an ideal tenant with deep experience and a strong vision for growth. For more information, contact the Think Retail team. 

Rock’n Deli Rocks on with New Location

June 10, 2022

Rock’n Deli Rocks on with New Location

Place Mascouche is the place to be for smoked meat aficionados, as Montreal-based Rock'n Deli debuts a new location in Mascouche, an off-island suburb of Montreal.
Rock’n Deli is a Montreal institution that debuted in the Gourmet Area at Carrefour Laval in 1992 and carved a reputation for its authentic Montreal-style smoked meat. 
It’s new 1,474-sq-ft. Place Mascouche restaurant marks Rock’n Deli’s 14th location—nine in its home province of Quebec and five in Ontario. In 2021, Rock’n Deli opened an incredible four locations, including in Vaudreuil-Dorian, a suburb of Greater Montreal; CF Fairview Pointe Claire in Quebec; and two Ontario restaurants—one in Vaughan and the other in Woodbridge. 
Customers in both provinces enjoy the brand’s lively casual dining experience. Each bustling site features an expansive menu that includes the smoked meat that made the brand famous, as well as a variety of sandwiches, burgers, chicken wings, poutine, salads and breakfast items. 
Rock’n Deli is an ideal tenant—a proven concept that offers a varied menu in a unique well-designed environment. Restaurants are bright and modern, with warm wood accents against a contemporary yellow and black pallet. In addition to eat-in, locations also offer take-out and delivery. 
More Rock’n Deli locations are in the works and Think Retail is honoured to continue our work with this amazing Quebec company as it looks to grow further in Montreal, as well as Toronto and Montreal. Ideal spaces are 1,200 to 1,500 sq. ft. in large open-air centres. Outlet centres will also be considered and locations with patios are of particular interest. 
With a menu that covers all dayparts and drives constant foot traffic, Rock’n Deli is a made-in-Canada success story with room for exciting growth. 
For details, contact the Think Retail team

Change is in the air for Le Creuset’s Canadian locations

May 19, 2022

Change is in the air for Le Creuset’s Canadian locations

After 10 glorious years at Bayview Village, Le Creuset is ready for a change. The colorful cookware and tableware isn’t moving on, but rather moving up, with a fabulous new space in the heart of the Toronto-area shopping centre. 
Bayview Village is itself in the midst of major change, with plans underway to modernize the destination shopping space with a mixed-use vision that incorporates the best in retail and residential to create a community-gathering space like no other. 
The new 1,000-sq.-ft. Le Creuset store is strategically situated in the main mall, directly across from Sephora and Banana Republic. The space itself is gorgeous and beautifully lit, with a simple white pallet that’s the perfect backdrop to showcase the iconic brand’s colorful array of products. 
Also, this summer Le Creuset is changing things up at the CF Chinook Centre in Calgary, with a planned renovation of its well-established store. The revamp is a fresh start at what is considered Alberta’s top-performing shopping centre. 
In all, Le Creuset has 10 locations in Canada—all ideally situated at the top shopping centres and high streets in British Columbia, Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and Nova Scotia. 
Looking forward, the company will consider opening one more location in Montreal, Toronto and, perhaps, Vancouver. Ideal spaces are 750 to 1,250 sq. ft. along high streets and in super regional malls. 
Think Retail is honored to have a long legacy working with this global brand. Founded in Northern France in 1925, Le Creuset has built a loyal following for its colorful quality enamel cookware, which started with its now-iconic French oven. 
With its “lasting, authentic design, rigorous craftsmanship and enduring quality” Le Creuset manages to strike the right balance between a traditional and modern aesthetic. It’s name-brand boutiques do the same, offering an enhanced selection of products unavailable via its other retail partners, all housed in bright, engaging stores located in prime markets not only across Canada, but also around the world.
For more information about plans here in Canada, contact the Think Retail Team

Chocolatier Jeff de Bruges to kick off summer with a new location at Carrefour Laval

May 18, 2022

Chocolatier Jeff de Bruges to kick off summer with a new location at Carrefour Laval

Just in time for summer, French chocolatier and ice cream house Jeff de Bruges is to debut in late June at Carrefour Laval.
The 904-sq.-ft. location takes over the former Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory space, which is ideally situated facing the food court. 
This is Jeff de Bruges’ third store in Canada (all in Quebec), but it won’t be the last, as the plan is to open more sites in the province in 2022—target areas include, Mont Royal St, South Shore and Quebec City.
The company will consider both high streets and super regional malls. Kiosks and inline spaces of 600 to 1,000 sq. ft. are of interest. 
Jeff de Bruges is a marquee tenant with a proven track record. Its stores have an industrial chic elegance about them. Branding is strong, with engaging products and a sophisticated design that reflects the company’s turquoise and chocolate-brown palette.
Jeff de Bruges dates back to 1986 when Philippe Jambon founded the Belgian chocolate company in France. It debuted to much acclaim, quickly establishing its reputation for gourmet Belgian chocolates, with a French twist. Today, there more than 500 stores across France, as well as close to 40 international locations in 17 countries. 
The popular retail concept debuted in Canada in 2014 and quickly evolved into a Montreal destination known for not only its exquisite Belgian chocolates, but also ice cream and other decadent treats. The menu is innovative and constantly evolving.
While the chocolates are, of course, imported from Belgium, Jeff de Bruges embraces the ‘shop local’ movement and ice cream is always locally sourced—here in Quebec, ice creams and artisanal sorbets come from the reputable Montreal-based ice cream shop Le Bilboquet. Servings are wrapped in a crunchy French-style cone. 
In 2018, Jeff de Bruges relocated its debut stores to a beautiful 750-sq.-ft. space at the Montreal Eaton Centre. That same year, it opened a 175-sq.-ft. kiosk at Carrefour Industrielle Alliance in the heart of the city’s pedestrian network.
Think Retail is thrilled to work with this visionary global brand as it grows in the Province of Quebec. Jeff de Bruges combines tradition with innovation, creating a quality brand that always feels fresh and exciting. 
For more about Jeff de Bruges and its plans for 2022, contact the Think Retail team.

France’s Columbus Cafe Announce 4 New Locations

May 03, 2022

France’s Columbus Cafe Announce 4 New Locations

France’s favorite coffee shop—Columbus Café & Co—is building its presence in Montreal, with the announcement of four exciting new locations. 
Founded in France in 1994, the engaging brand quickly gained became a favorite due to its premium coffee products, intriguing menu and a modern, inviting ambiance that makes it the perfect destination to linger over coffee with friends, meet for a lunch or stop in to grab a coffee and a bite to eat while on the go. 
Locals and visitors loved the bright and well-designed concept, spurring Columbus Café & Co to expand internationally. In 2001, a café opened in Brussels and by 2007 Columbus Café & Co began franchising, while at the same time welcoming Nicolas Riché as CEO. 
Close to 30 years after its inception, there are more than 200 locations across France and internationally, with the first North American café debuting on Mont-Royal Avenue in Montreal in 2020, followed by a beautiful site on Park Avenue. 
Just last week, Columbus Café & Co opened a 910-sq.-ft. café at Carrefour Laval, just in front of Simons.
And, the expansion continues, as the concept—voted the best coffee-shop chain in France by Allegra Coffee Symposium—fills the void left by the closure of several Starbucks locations around Montreal. A new café is under construction at 262 St. Catherine W (in the former Starbucks adjacent Place des Arts) and the team has just finalized a deal to open a 1,883-sq-ft. café at 2153 St. Catherine W. Plus, the company is announcing plans to open its first drive-thru café in Quebec, a 2,088-sq.-ft. location at 269 Rue Sicard, Sainte-Thérèse.
It’s an exciting time for this marque global brand as it makes it mark in North America. The Think Retail team is proud to work with this forward-thinking company that epitomizes quality on every level, from its delicious coffee to gourmet menu and fabulous branding. 
The logo—a big-hearted, but sophisticated bear—anchors the concept, which is full of personality, making it a perfect addition to neighborhoods seeking a high-end coffee shop that doesn’t feel like a cookie cutter chain. Columbus Café & Co is the ideal place to enjoy hot and cold drinks, sandwiches, salads and Buddha bowls, plus an array of quality baked goods and sweet treats.
The French café is ready to open more sites in Montreal: High-traffic street front locations are ideal, but Columbus will also consider the right fit in busy super regional malls, open-air centres and other non-conventional locations. High traffic is the key and the optimal size is 1,500 sq. ft. 
For more information about the innovative Columbus Café & Co concept, contact the Think Retail Team.