Looking ahead to 40 more years

West side Zellers' grand reopening celebration gets underway today

SAINT JOHN - The grand reopening of Zellers in Lancaster Mall is only the latest celebration in a string of commercial and residential development initiatives on the west side.


Construction of the multimillion-dollar project began in the fall of 2008, Zellers manager Adam Beechin said. The newly renovated store will be unveiled in a grand reopening celebration at the store today beginning at 7:30 a.m. Festivities will continue on Saturday, Aug. 15 and Aug. 22.

Zellers has been a fixture on the west side for 40 years and with the new renovations, Beechin said it plans to be there for another 40.

"The goal obviously is to provide the customer with a more up-to-date, bright, clean environment," he said.

Other store upgrades include new signage, a direct connection to Lancaster Mall, wider aisles, an improved cosmetics counter, an updated pharmacy and an expanded restaurant where free coffee will be served during the grand reopening. The renovations also include a refrigerated grocery section and a Magicuts hair salon, holding true to Zellers' "everything from A to Z" slogan.

Owen Boyle, president of the West Side Business Association, believes the "one-stop shopping" facility is the right thing at the right time.

"It's going to be great and I think that will be the stimulus for new businesses to come to west Saint John when they see how well that one is going and how important it is to the area," Boyle said. "You will see continued development along Fairville Boulevard."

Mayor Ivan Court said the renovated Zellers is important to west side business.

"It's a major anchor for the west side," the mayor said. "It's a nice reinvestment and certainly an anchor for all the development taking place on the Golden Mile."

Beechin, who has managed the store for four years, is excited about the updated layout of the store.

"It's beautiful - the fixtures, the sign package, the overall layout is very encouraging," he said.

Boyle said the ongoing renovations and construction to west side businesses are extremely important to the community.

"It's vital to the whole idea of people being self-sufficient in west Saint John ... that's our objective - to have as many things as we need to keep everybody happy and keep everybody staying in the west side of Saint John."

Beechin also stressed how important the development is for west Saint Johners.

"Hopefully, we can provide the needs they're looking for and there's more development happening. We're one store trying to maintain our loyal west siders here."

Celebrations for the grand reopening kick off this morning with a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the store, with retiree Joan McKiel, a Zellers employee for decades, handling the scissors. Zellers president Mark Foote and city councillor Chris Titus will also be on hand at the ceremony. There will be free cake, as well as Zellers and Olympic mascots interacting with the crowd. Retired NHLer Danny Grant will also be at the store from 4 to 7 p.m. signing autographs.

As a special feature, today's first 200 customers will receive a free reusable bag with samples of Zellers' Truly line. The first 500 customers will receive a $10 savings card and every customer can gain 20 times the HBC reward points on purchases throughout the day.

On Saturday there will be mascots, face painting and clowns. On Saturday, Aug. 22, Olympic athlete Andrew Russell will be on site for a barbecue from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. with proceeds supporting Canadian athletes. There will also be free cake and coffee.

Source: Telegraph Journal Published Thursday August 13th, 2009