Prince Albert Undergoes Major Reorganisation

FTLComm - Prince Albert - Monday, March 11, 2002

The never ending quest by retail outlets to get the right mix between location and affordability is one of the most dynamic elements in the marketplace.

Prince Albert is a major retail and service centre for the Northern half of the province, even though it is a small city and its population and customer base, remains relatively static.

Last year the Canadian Tire franchise store began a
pre-emptive strike to establish its retail position by doubling its size to become one of the largest outlets of its kind in the country. This development did not set of the chain of events that has occurred but was the first sign of a major shake up in where and what businesses would be addressing the same set of consumers.

Wal-Mart, which had obtained and operated the former Woolco store in the large South mall wanted to get a building that would fit their marketing strategy and began the development of their outlet in the North East portion of the city. With this development other outlets took this opportunity to open outlets in Prince Albert as Future Shop and others became part of this huge shopping area near the Super Store.

This left the South Mall with a serious problem as the main anchor of the mall closed it doors and stood empty for this winter. Now we see modifications been made to this retail site as another retailer has obtained the property and is renovating it for their needs.(top of page picture)

It is hard not to notice all the shuffling as the second picture on this page shows a hair dressor location tucked in between Tim Hortons and Subway that has packed up and headed over to the Northeast marketplace.

Macdonalds with its massive advertising appeal continued to have such success on the corner location that it really needed to be bigger and this winter it constructed its new store across from Canadian Tire (bottom of the page) but that left the former corner site across from Tim Horton's and Pizza Hut vacant. There is some indication that another fast food store will locate in this building but for now it is boarded up.

Across the street from the South Mall is the former Bonanza. This chain ended most of its operations in Canada and for the past two years this outlet ran as an independent though similar restaurant. But it now is closed

Just South of the monster Canadian Tire store the Beaver Lumber store closed suddenly a few weeks ago.

And so, the merciless shuffle continues as franchise operations pursue the consumer dollars in this marketplace. The interesting problem for Prince Albert is that it is only an hour's drive from Saskatoon so that even though rural consumers usually will choose to continue shopping in Prince Albert there is the temptation for they and even Prince Ablert residents to head off to Saskatoon in search of a better deal or some product not on the shlef in this community.