It was a lucky Friday the 13th for Centre Wellington, with the opening of the new Giant Tiger store at the south edge of Fergus.
While the official grand opening and ribbon cutting was held the morning of May 14, the previous day saw the doors opened by invitation to family and friends.
The new Giant Tiger at 900 Tower Street South features 19,743 square feet of retail space and offers lottery, ice, third-party gifts, stamps, magazines and GT gift cards.
The grand opening offered plenty of free activities for customers of all ages.
Planned events included gift card giveaways, a superhero meet and greet, face painting, performances by the Blue Bonnet Lassies School of Highland Dance and, of course, a visit by Friendly, the Giant Tiger.
In addition, there were product samplings and a charitable barbecue with proceeds supporting the Elora Cataract Trailway Association.
Established in 1961 in Ottawa’s ByWard Market, the privately held company now has over 200 locations across Canada and employs over 7,000 people.
Store manager and owner Jeff Reinhart said, “I just like to lead a fun team.”
Reinhart currently lives in Brantford and temporarily at Highland Pines until his family gets properly settled in the Centre Wellington area.
Reinhart said he plans to be involved in the community – both personally and at a corporate level.
The store has already joined the Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce and one of the weekend kickoff events was a $1,000 donation to the Centre Wellington Food Bank.
In addition, a charity barbecue raised funds for the Elora Cataract Trailway Association.
“That was my choice,” said Reinhart. “I think it is such a great trailway system. I’ve used it myself and I think it is great for the community, young and old …”
Reinhart said “Fergus is a growing community if you just look at the statistics over the past 10 years. It is a growing and thriving community.”
He said Giant Tiger continues to expand and enter new communities.
Reinhart said Giant Tiger is unique “because we offer the fun factor and atmosphere.
“Everything in this store, we purchase ourselves and I have complete autonomy to buy what I need.”
He said that approach offers customers great selection and value – and products which are in stock.
“We’ll always be full,” Reinhart said.
“I like to think of it as a one-stop shop with great everyday pricing.”
While Reinhart currently deals with a produce wholesaler, “if there are any opportunities for local vendors for produce – absolutely – I can source that out.”
“We love to give back to the community, that’s one of our brand pillars,” he said.
“We are here for the community and we want to offer a great shopping experience – something customers can count and rely on. We’re not a large store, but we have a great selection and variety.”
Centre Wellington Mayor Kelly Linton called it “an exciting morning with Giant Tiger moving into the community.”
“We are happy you are here and can see from around the store, that a lot of work has gone into the last number of months and weeks to get ready for this day.
“The place looks great.”
Linton said there are a lot of people excited that Giant Tiger has come to the community.
One person arrived at the store at 5:30am for the 8am opening on the rainy morning.
Linton said “we’re pleased to have a great Canadian company come to Fergus and Centre Wellington. We’re looking forward to having a great new corporate citizen in Centre Wellington.”
On behalf of council and the community, he welcomed Giant Tiger to Centre Wellington.
Centre Wellington Chamber
Centre Wellington Chamber of Commerce president Kira Bailey said the chamber’s mission is to support the growth and development of businesses in Centre Wellington.
“We’ve been so excited to have Giant Tiger join the Centre Wellington business community,” said Bailey.
“I want to give a warm welcome to a Canadian business joining the business community here in Centre Wellington.”
Reinhart added, “I’m thrilled we are opening a store in this beautiful community.
“On behalf of my team, we’re going to promise you a fantastic shopping experience.”