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Here's what it costs to renovate a Coquitlam store for a major grocery chain

New electrical fixtures are among the improvements at the new T & T Asian grocery store to open soon in Coquitlam.
The new T & T Supermarket in Coquitlam is still under construction in Coquitlam.

A major grocery store chain is turning a former housewares dealer into an Asian market.

Loblaw Companies Ltd, which owns several grocery store brands in Canada, is doing a major retrofit of a building at 1085 Woolridge St. in southwestern Coquitlam, to prepare for a T & T Supermarket.

The company is spending $2.5 million to renovate the former Home Outfitters into a grocery store, according to City of Coquitlam building permit figures.

Loblaw has yet to announce an opening for the new Asian grocery store, but a sign went up in the summer and construction workers have been on site for  months working on the building, including excavating under the former Home Outfitters.

A visit to the site indicates new lighting has been added to the inside of the store.

T&T Supermarkets announced in the spring it planned to open the store; at the time, it stated that the new grocery store would be open by late 2022.

According to the company website, T & T was started by Cindy Lee, an emigrant from Taiwan and a working mother of three who wanted to bring Asian food to the Lower Mainland.

The name "T & T" references Tina and Tiffany, her two daughters, and the initials of two early investors, according to the website.

In 2009, the company was purchased by Loblaw, one of Canada's largest grocery retailers. 

The Tri-City News has reached out to the chain for an update on the opening, but so far has not heard back.

The new Asian grocery store will be opening up in Home Outfitters, which had been vacant for more than two years.

Close to IKEA, and what will eventually be the master-planned Fraser Mills neighbourhood, T&T has its sights set on meeting the needs of the area that has, up until now, been served by a large Real Canadian Superstore at 1301 Lougheed Hwy.

This will be the second T & T Market for Coquitlam, after a long-standing store at Coquitlam Centre.

It comes as a new PriceSmart grocery store is moving into space vacated by Save-On-Foods at 2991 Lougheed Hwy. when Save-On-Foods moved to a new location in Sunwood Square.

The grocery store changes in the Tri-Cities come as Canada's Competition Bureau announces that it will undertake a market study to promote competition in Canada’s retail grocery sector.

Grocery inflation is hitting many budgets and the study aims to study changing dynamics in the grocery sector, including the impact of supply chain issues.

The bureau says it’s studying whether the government can help improve competition in the grocery sector, and looking at why food prices are so high.  

— with a file from Canadian Press