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TOUR: Atlantic Superstore - Truro, NS

Let's head about 75 miles east of Wolfville to the town of Truro, NS. With a population of 12,000, it's significantly larger than Wolfville or Canning. It's home to Atlantic Superstore, which like Your Independent Grocer is run by the Loblaw group, although I don't believe these stores are franchised.
Atlantic Superstore is a hypermarket, meaning it's a full grocery store that also sells a variety of nonfood products. This particular one, for instance, has a clothing department in the center of the store.
Entranceway puts you into the grand aisle, which contains produce, deli, bakery, and seafood. Meat runs along the back wall with frozen and dairy at the far side of the store. The store is huge, at over 80,000 square feet.
As I entered, a manager happened to see me taking pictures. The conversation went like this:
Him: Why are you taking pictures?
Me: I'm interested in supermarkets and retail design, so I like to photograph stores when I visit them.
Him: Oh, okay.
Me: I can stop if you like.
Him: [shrugs and walks away]
So I didn't stop. And that's why we have a full tour here today!
Prepared foods counter immediately when you walk in. The seating area is located just to the left, along the front wall.
You can also see the liquor store on the side wall.
And now into the enormous produce department!
The bright colors on the walls are fantastic and they really bring the cavernous space to life. Otherwise these huge stores with high ceilings can feel very dull.
Bakery is located at the back of the first aisle. Not a huge fan of the floor, but the lighting is very nice. The decor is attractive but could stand to be updated. As we'll see, it has been modified slightly in some places. Notice that it's a deluxe version of the same decor that's in the Your Independent Grocer in Wolfville.
Bulk foods at the back of the produce department. Huge selection!
The deli and seafood departments are located in an island facing produce.
And the bakery is on the back wall. This is a rather common layout, and we've seen nearly the exact same floor plan closer to home at the Extra Supermarket in Jersey City, NJ.
Very attractive bakery.
This is something I'll never be able to get used to, although it does make more sense: packaged breads and rolls in the bakery department rather than center-store.
Here's a look at the deli in the front, which appears to be partially a service counter but mostly self service.
Very nice seafood on ice in the back corner. Again, eerily similar to the Extra. Okay, maybe it's not eerie.
A look along the store's long back aisle. Notice that this store was planned at this size, and the sightlines continue. In many stores as large in the NJ area, the size was reached by expansions, so their layouts are kind of haphazard.
Here's a look at natural foods in the back of the first few aisles, looking towards meat on the back wall.
The front half of that department is HABA, facing the pharmacy counter.
The back wall once again promotes the President's Choice brand, which is the storebrand here too.
The grocery aisles are pretty standard, save for the clothing section in the middle of the store.
The clothing department is branded Joe Fresh, which is also owned by Loblaw. The chain has standalone clothing stores, too, including some in the United States.
Dairy continues along the back wall, with frozen foods in the last aisle.
They divide the frozen department with multiple department signs, although it works because they're all the same color so visually, it's the same section of the store.
And you've gotta love any store that has a Fish & Chips department!
And we can see a slight variation in the decor as we move towards the front of the store.
Compare the font on this sign to the one for Fish & Chips. It looks like this one is newer. If you go back and look at some of the other signs, you can notice the same thing in other departments.
The second floor in this area is a community meeting room. I'm not sure exactly how this one works, but the ShopRite of Newark has a similar thing that any local organization can sign up to use for free for a meeting.
Underneath that space, there is a kitchen goods section with silverware, dishes, cooking utensils, and other similar items. Extra uses this corner for sale items.
Floral is at the far end (near the entrance) on the front wall.
Very spacious front-end (the high peaked ceiling helps too) for a huge store.
The decor kind of falls flat here on the front wall. I like the orange color, but there's no signs (no thank you or anything) other than that little logo.
One more look along the front end before we head out. Tomorrow is our last day of Nova Scotia with one final tour before we head up to the Bronx on Saturday!

Atlantic Superstore

46 Elm St, Truro, NS
Open Mon-Sat 7AM-10PM, Sun 9AM-8PM
Photographed August 2016


  1. I really like the simplicity and elegance of the décor in this store, especially how the departments can be divided into subcomponents while still visually remaining part of the larger department category, as you pointed out. Only problem there is a potential issue when resets come along, but as you also noted, the different fonts on some of the signs seems to indicate they've found a way around that, too! Glad the manager (sorta :P ) allowed you to get this full tour for us :)

    I know you said this particular store wasn't franchised, but for those that are... how exactly does that work? For example, say this store was franchised. I would assume other operators may not carry clothing like this store does. So presumably, this store would have to figure out how to source the clothes on its own, and clear that with the franchisor, right? And if the franchisor were ever to revoke the franchise, they would probably have to either go out of business or figure out how to source everything they currently carry that is presently supplied through the franchisor's supply chain as opposed to their own. I ask all of this because there's a chain in my area that is revoking its franchises, and most of those stores seem to be electing the liquidation route, even though in my mind they could make an attempt to stay open - but it's probably just too much effort to try to "go it alone," so to speak. I'm familiar with franchises in the realm of restaurants, but much less versed as they apply to actual retail stores! (And I'm also treating you as if you're an expert on all this, which I probably shouldn't, so it's okay if you don't have any answers XD )

    1. I have absolutely no idea. I believe that all Atlantic Superstores carry clothing, homegoods, etc., so it's part of the store format. Other Loblaw's affiliates do not, so you could be a different brand franchisor if you did not carry the line of general merchandise. And if the chain revoked the franchise, I would assume the franchisor would either go out of business or choose to pursue a franchise with another group (in this case, it would likely be Sobeys).

      The clothing department runs as a separate chain, which is Joe Fresh. I don't know whether that is also a franchise, presumably owned by the store owner.

      A similar format that might be analogous (although I'm not entirely sure) is foodservice, such as college dining programs. When a foodservice provider contracts with a college, they will run the dining hall and any satellite locations. When there are franchised retail locations (Subway, Starbucks, etc), the franchisor for that location is the foodservice provider (generally Aramark, Compass, or Sodexo). In this case, the store owner/franchisor could be the franchisor of Atlantic Superstore, Joe Fresh, and any other services/businesses in the store. That's just kind of a guess though!

    2. Thanks! College dining programs are a good comparison indeed. For that matter, I want to say I read somewhere that my college Barnes and Noble is operated by the university as well, so that could probably be considered a franchise, too. The situation I was referring to is Fred's (you likely haven't heard much about them, besides perhaps the announcement that they were to take over the divested Rite Aid stores if the merger with Walgreens had gone through). I don't know of any other dollar store like that that franchises, so I figure if the few franchised Fred's (11 out of 500-something stores total) were to stay open they'd have to adopt an independent name as well as determine how to get all of their product... which is probably more trouble than it's worth, sad as that sounds.

    3. Very interesting, thanks for the info.

    4. No problem - thanks for your help!


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