SASKATOON — An official of the Saskatoon office of Arbutus Properties said they were not thinking of opening just one outlet of their market-kitchen store concept of Pitchfork when they opened in Rosewood last year.
The Vancouver-based real estate developer is building the Meadows community residential area southeast of the city near where they opened the first Pitchfork, where they introduced a “chef-inspired kitchen” store.
Arbutus Properties planning director Murray Totland told SASKTODAY.ca that they did not limit the idea of Pitchfork being a single store only. Arbutus is developing 400 acres of land southeast of the city into commercial and residential areas.
“When we were thinking about our first store at Meadows, we didn’t see it being a single store. We always thought of it that this model will likely be such that we’d have a number of stores in a city,” said Totland.
“For instance, it’s probably easily foreseeable that Saskatoon could have four or five, or six of these Pitchfork market store locations around the city.”
He added that with their Rosewood store serving communities southeast of the city, they thought of expanding to serve other areas.
“Our existing store in the Meadows, that’s kind of serving now the southeast part of the city. After we got our Rosewood store operating, we started thinking about store number two and where [location] should we look.”
Totland said they began searching for viable locations in the city and assessed each possible area before choosing Midtown in the heart of Saskatoon’s business district.
“Downtown kind of popped to the top of our list … We thought downtown would be another opportunity. We felt that downtown was an ideal location to open store two.
He said putting up a Pitchfork downtown is feasible since there were more than 15,000 people who work in businesses and offices in the area while almost 4,000 live in the nearby residential communities.
“If you look at the market area downtown, [Ward 6] Councillor [Cynthia] Block’s comments about [Midtown] being a central hub for many, not only for Saskatoon. We thought, there’s a market downtown that we can serve,” said Totland.
“In addition to that, there is a very significant market in the neighbourhoods that surround it. It’s a large market because when Extra Foods on Broadway closed down, there isn’t a grocery store of any significance in proximity to neighbourhoods in the surrounding area. We think Pitchfork can serve that market.”
Caswell Hill, Riversdale, City Park South and Nutana over the Broadway bridge are some of the residential communities that are near downtown.
Totland said there is also a chance that they open Pitchfork stores outside of Saskatoon.
“Saskatoon is not unique. We think there’s an opportunity for the Pitchfork model to go beyond Saskatoon’s boundaries.”