SUMMERSIDE – As they pushed their shopping cart down the produce aisle, Eva MacDonald and Vivian Paugh giggled like schoolgirls at lunchbreak.The women were part of a group of about 100 people who got a sneak peek Friday at P.E.I.’s first Giant Tiger.
The women were enjoying themselves as they perused the new store’s wares.
MacDonald said she’d never been inside one of the retail outlets before, so she was excited to see something different.
“I think it’s beautiful – I haven’t seen all of it yet, but what I’ve seen is beautiful,” she said.
“I think it’s going to be popular.”
“It’s just wonderful. We’re having a good time,” added Paugh.
The store, all 19,000 square feet of it, is located in Summerside’s County Fair Mall on Granville Street.
Store manager David Bryanton said he’s excited to finally open the doors to the public because his staff of about 30 have been working hard for three weeks to get everything set up.
“It all came together pretty good – as you can see. We’ve got a great bunch of people,” said Bryanton.
“A lot of people I’ve talked to in town have visited our Giant Tigers in Moncton or Truro and they really like what we have to offer. This gives them one more place to shop in Summerside,” he said.
Bryanton is originally from the Summerside area but spent many years working around the Maritimes, including a few in Charlottetown at its Zellers.
The Giant Tiger store itself sits on the former space of the city’s only Zellers location. When Zellers closed, mall owners Crombie REIT undertook significant renovations to the mall to accommodate the new store.
Zellers had been seen as one of two anchor stores in the mall, along with Sobeys, so many in Summerside’s business community expressed relief when it was announced another well-known retailer would be moving into that part of the building.
The renovations also included space for another three stores. So far, Sport Chek is the only other retailer to announce plans to move into the space.
There was an official opening for the Giant Tiger Saturday morning, with speeches, a performance by the College of Piping, a barbeque and a visit from Friendly, the Giant Tiger mascot.