Marcel Nadeau’s voice was filled with excitement and he practically jumped out of his chair as he talked about what he called ‘the worst kept secret in Chilliwack.’
With all the i’s crossed and t’s dotted, the owner of the local Canadian Tire was finally able to confirm that his store is moving into the old Sears space at Cottonwood Centre.
Operating on an ambitious timeline, Nadeau said the new store will be open in September or October of 2022, coinciding with the 100th anniversary of Canadian Tire.
Demolition work on the Sears space will begin almost immediately.
“It is an ambitious timeline but we know that we’ll obtain it,” Nadeau noted. “We know from the past that a building this size, we can get it built and opened by mid-October probably of next year. We see nothing to slow us down, and with the crew we have lined up to do this project, we’re quite convinced we’ll meet that mid-October grand opening.”
A bigger store should mean more employees, and Nadeau also confirmed plans to boost Canadian Tire’s staff from 130-135 to close to 200.
The existing Canadian Tire building was constructed in 1998 and has expanded three times since. It occupies around 65,000 square feet at 7560 Vedder Road, with not an inch to get bigger in any direction.
The new building, including parking, will be just shy of 180,000 square feet, making it the largest Canadian Tire location in B.C. and one of the biggest in all of Canada.
Nadeau said the exterior of the store will be ‘spectacular.’
“Usually a store has a front and a back, but we’re going to have three frontages,” he explained. “The back of the store is going to be just as eye-catching as the front of the store — with the colour scheme, the height, how we’re keeping it crisp and clean and extremely modern looking.
“We’re really kicking it up a notch with the decor, both on the outside and the inside of the store.”
Nadeau said the goal is to give customers “a spectacular shopping experience like they’ve never seen before.”
Visitors to the current store will cheer for a larger retail floor, where one doesn’t have to scooch around other customers or merchandise. The narrowest aisle in the new store will be wider than the widest aisle in the current store.
Nadeau said they’ll have state-of-the-art automotive and garden centres and he’s particularly excited about a space he’s calling the ‘E-Com Salon,’ an area for online buyers who can shop from home and pick up purchases without ever stepping foot in the actual store.
“We believe we can own e-commerce in Chilliwack,” Nadeau said.
Nadeau has worked closely with the City of Chilliwack on every aspect of this project and said the development planning team, right up to Mayor Ken Popove and council, have been “absolutely incredible.”
“They have been incredibly progressive towards business and a joy to work with,” he said. “We’re able to do this because Chilliwack and the surrounding community has been so good to Canadian Tire, and we’re not just building this new store to take care of our needs today. This new facility will take care of the needs of our customers for years and years to come.”