Have you noticed any changes in the convenience store staples in Saskatoon?
There are a few changes happening which are worthy of mention.
The Mac’s convenience store chain is not closing, but it is taking on a new name. Owned and operated by Quebec-based Alimentation Couche-Tard (ATD-B-T) since 1999, the stores are being rebranded as Circle K.
I spotted this change in my Saskatoon neighborhood retail centre at Churchill on Taylor Street recently.
In 1971, the founders of Mac’s Milk Limited purchased 18 convenience stores and grew their portfolio by another 13 in 1974.
Mac’s Convenience stores were officially branded in 1975. According to industry sources, there are a total of 5,906 stores nationally.
If you’ve been paying close attention to these stores, you may remember that the original mascot was a cat named McTavish; it was changed to the current winking owl Hibou when the chain changed hands in ‘99.
Depending on where you live in the city, the 7-Eleven in your neighbourhood might have abruptly closed up shop. Two which caught my eye in Saskatoon include the Broadway Ave. and 8th St./Grosvenor Ave. location closures.
Official word from 7-Eleven has been elusive, but the company has indicated it is closing stores based on performance levels. That’s not to say they’re not making money, however. They’re just not making what the company projects they should be.
It’s likely not coincidental most of the 7-Eleven closures also occurred on sites where there is no gas bar service.
What moves onto these sites has yet to be determined, but I wouldn’t rule out new convenience store operators.
The good news is, there seems to be plenty of convenience left in the convenience store business.
8th Street is a good example. Even with the closure at the Grosvenor intersection, there is still a 7-Eleven flanking both ends of the throughway at the corners of Clarence and McKercher.
If you’re like me, it might not matter what happens to your closest convenience store provider.
You might just continue to call your local convenience store whatever it was known as when you were a child. If you’re from a small town in Saskatchewan, it was most definitely a Red Rooster.