New supercentre impacts East Scarborough

Walmart Supercenter Morningside Ave. donates $4,000 to the East Scarborough Boys and Girls Club as they celebrate their grand opening Feb. 27. (Courtesy Walmart Canada)
Walmart Supercenter Morningside Ave. donates $4,000 to the East Scarborough Boys and Girls Club as they celebrate their grand opening Feb. 27. (Courtesy Walmart Canada) (walmart_033009)

One-stop shopping has found a new home in East Scarborough as Walmart celebrated the opening of its latest Supercentre at Morningside Ave. and Hwy. 401 on Feb. 27.

The 15-year-old location underwent extensive renovation and expansion over the last year. Over 50,000 square feet was added to the facility’s present size, measuring over 100,000 square feet allowing for a wider selection of merchandise and services.

“I have never been in a location where as many customers have come to me and thank me for doing this,” store manager Mark Blake said. “They love the idea of the convenience of one-stop shopping.”

The new store still has many of the departments and services familiar to regular customers such as the pharmacy and the one-hour photo centre, but with the added addition of an expanded grocery department.

“The new grocery department includes fresh bakery goods, frozen foods, meat and dairy products, fresh produce and a variety of organic products,” Walmart Canada’s Felicia Fefer said.

“The store also includes a full deli with a variety of prepared foods.”

But not everyone is immediately thrilled with the new superstore.

Scarborough native Daniel Hutchinson has mixed feelings about the benefits Walmart says it brings to its shoppers.

“It is ridiculously huge,” Hutchinson said. “It is going to take a bit of getting used to.”

Sobey’s Morningside Ave. is the closest grocery storet to the new Supercentre and it has seen an impact on the number of customers coming in since the opening.

“Sales are down over all,” Al Duke said, grocery manager of Sobey’s at Morningside Ave. “We have noticed an impact, but we feel we still do fresh better then they do and our strength is our customer service.”

The impact of the new Walmart extends past a new retail and grocery shopping experience for the residences of East Scarborough. Walmart currently employs 360 people at its Morningside location, 100 of which are positions added by the expansion. Blake said the store will be looking to fill various seasonal positions throughout the spring and summer months.

Walmart also celebrated the grand opening with the donation of $30,000 to local Scarborough charities, such as the East Scarborough Boys and Girls Club (ESBGC).

“We are looking forward to an ongoing relation with Walmart and look forward to the possibility for other fundraising activities in the community in the future,” said Ron Rock, executive director for ESBGC.

Rock says the $4,000 the club received will go to funding summer programs and providing needy families with the opportunity for their children to attend summer camp.

Other charities receiving donations include Birkdale Family Services, Breakfast Clubs of Canada, Scarborough Fire Department, Toronto Police 42 Division, West Hill Community Services and West Hill Public School.