BY ROBERT KIRWAN
This Wednesday, March 30, the new Hart Department Store will open at the Hanmer Valley Shopping Centre.
With approximately 64,000 grand opening circulars being distributed to almost every household in the area, company officials expect to welcome a large crowd of bargain-conscious consumers wanting to be the first to take advantage of the hundreds of specials after the ribbon-cutting ceremony. The
mall doors will open up at 7 am to accommodate the line up of early shoppers.
Rod Groulx is the store manager and Julie Laquerre is the assistant store manager. This week they were busy looking after last-minute details while staff put the finishing touches on merchandise displays.
The Hart marketing strategy hinges on providing value-priced merchandise supported by a promotional program and exceptional customer service. The company takes pride in its claim, ?Our prices are unbeatable!?
Hart Stores Inc., a ?quiet giant? which has been steadily expanding for the past 45 years in Quebec and Eastern Canada, is taking a bold step into the Ontario market with the 30,000 sq. foot Hanmer store. This is only the second Ontario outlet of the 68-store chain. However, with a store opening up in Whitby April 1 and another in Espanola in August, the Hart chain, which already operates in Kirkland Lake, has quickly and successfully entered the retail game in Ontario.
When Michael Hart, president and CEO of the Montreal-based chain, first examined potential sites in this area, he was immediately impressed with Valley East, a community of 25,000 people, situated about 20 minutes from large retail centers.
For one thing, while the population of the region has declined by 10 percent since 1971, the population in Valley East has actually increased in that
same time by over 25 percent.
A close examination of the demographics verifies this is a preferred community among young families. As people move into the City of Greater Sudbury from other larger metropolitan areas, many of them have been attracted to the quality of life of Valley East. They have discovered Valley East contains all of the amenities of which they have been searching.
Hart has solidified its share of what it considers to be a growing market and successfully coexists with its large big-box competition by differentiating its merchandising approach. Hart Stores provide consumers with the selection, quality and pricing of much larger box stores, with the added benefit of personal service that one would only expect from much smaller establishments. It is the best of both worlds.
The new Hart Department Store has opened the flood-gates for even more retail expansion in the community. Over the next several months, other similar-sized retail outlets are expected to announce that they will be establishing in Valley East as well.
Robert Kirwan wrote this article on behalf of Hart Department Stores.