La Boîte à Grains, serving the people of Gatineau, QC for 36 years, has opened its third location in the city. The newest store – located in Gatineau’s Le Plateau district – measures 10,500 sq. ft., making it the largest of the three. The second store (opened a few years ago) measures 8,500 sq. ft., while the original store has a 5,000 sq. ft. sales floor, and fully functional 5,000 sq. ft. basement which houses administration, marketing, accounting, prep and online orders.
La Boîte à Grains owner and founder Pierre Menard says it took just over four months (including the two weeks over Christmas holidays) to get the store up and running. “We took over the building September 15. Previously, it was a sporting goods retailer. One of the downsides of taking over an existing retail space is changing it over for your own needs, and that’s what we ran into. We had to go in and tear down their backroom and re-build it to suit our needs. One thing we had to do was build an insulated room to house our rack multi-pack compressor, which was custom-built for us. It holds eight compressors, so that if one fails, the others compensate.”
Besides being bigger than its other two locations, Pierre says the new store also has a stronger focus on health and beauty products and it offers a more elaborate food selection. “While we do offer food in our other locations – sandwiches, soup, wraps, etc. – our new store is set up to prepare and offer full meals-to-go. We want to do more of this in the new store.”
Also new is an exclusive consultation room for the store’s naturopathic staff to have one-on-one sessions. “We want to give more service, more than just consulting in the aisle,” explained Pierre. “The room is for those customers who want to go deeper in improving their health. They can book a meeting with one of our professionals on staff.” •