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$3 million reno to local Canadian Tire store complete. 'So very, very cool'

'We've rebuilt every aisle. We've changed our checkouts, we've gotten rid of the self-checkout'

North Bay's Canadian Tire store is among the first of 225 to roll out "Concept Connect" which is the company's new store format.

So far only six stores in Canada have done it as part of a $3.4 billion investment over four years to deliver an improved customer experience. 

That includes an expanded assortment and seamless omni-channel shopping options, including Click & Collect, Curbside Pickup, and deliver to home says a company release.

It also includes a whole new look for the store, with a grey and a brown storefront, says local store general manager Derek Shogren.

"It's the latest colour scheme. We've rebuilt every aisle. We've changed our checkouts. We've gotten rid of the self-checkout. We painted the store, and put up 192 light boxes."

You'll also find electronic labels throughout the entire store.

"So when we have a flyer, now we just press a button, and automatically, all the prices appear on the side of the counter. So you can actually go up to the side of the counter if you're looking for something, and on your app an item will actually beep and light up."

Shogren says they also hired an additional 25 people for that project and were able to keep them all.

He's particularly proud of how much of the work was done by people locally, turning a 16-week renovation into 13 weeks

"We had all local contractors do the work. The general contractor was a local contractor and the plumbing, the electrician, the digging, the masonry, the lighting, was all done by local contractors here in North Bay."

One thing you'll notice is the self-checkout is gone, and Shogren says that was a local decision.

"When we reconfigured the store, it was our option to do it. And you know, we debated about it. Some people like it, some people don't. But we have a whole new setup in front and we think customers will like that better. The decision was up to each individual owner."

Shogren calls the renovated local store "kind of the flagship for Canadian Tire. North Bay is one of the first to see this new setup that we are really proud of. The staff worked extremely, extremely hard. So very, very cool."

The retailer has just over 500 stores across the country, and approximately 225 Canadian Tire stores – in other words, 50 per cent of their current retail square footage will be refreshed. 

To celebrate the grand opening, Shogren says he's throwing a special eight-day sale.

"We started first thing Thursday morning with Mayor Chirico and MP Anthony Rota for the grand opening and the sale is going on right till next Thursday. So come on in. We have a special flyer for it and you'll see all the latest concepts."

There will also be some giveaways.

"So again, if you're floating around, you can come and see...lots going on in. It's been, it's been very well received so far."

Jeff Turl

About the Author: Jeff Turl

Jeff is a veteran of the news biz. He's spent a lengthy career in TV, radio, print and online, covering both news and sports. He enjoys free time riding motorcycles and spoiling grandchildren.
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