By Mike Pearson, News Staff
The transformation of Eastgate Square is more a repositioning than a rebranding, according to Don Burton, executive vice-president of the retail group for Triovest Realty Advisors Inc.
Triovest has leased and managed the shopping centre for over a decade. During that time, the group has focused on improving access, public transit linkages, renovating the entrances and washrooms and adding a wider variety of commercial tenants.
More recently, the mall has transitioned following the departure of Walmart, with a list of new tenants that includes Winners, SportChek, Urban Planet, Kitchen Stuff Plus and Dollarama.
Each new store is 15,000 square feet or larger. Winners, Urban Planet and SportChek have recently held grand opening events.
“Most shopping centres that are in mature markets like this one, they’re constantly evolving,” said Burton. “In this one, we’ve repositioned it through the merchants that are inside.”
Tenants like Winners and SportChek serve a broad, family-oriented demographic, Burton noted.
“The focus takes us more to a family and fashion focus,” he said.
Stand-alone tenants, such as Jack Astors and the Beer Store, have helped led to habit forming customers who come to Eastgate for one-stop shopping, Burton added.
“We want to be habit forming for the consumer that lives in the market,” said Burton. “Maybe they grocery shop at Fortinos or maybe they need to pick up a bottle of wine, or pick up something for their kids – that could be one event trip. There could be a more focused trip where they’re focused on fashion or back-to-school or activities like hockey or soccer. Having amenities that cater on a broader range to that demographic is really where we want to be.”
On Aug. 20, the mall will hold a formal grand opening at 11 a.m., which also commemorates the centre’s 40th anniversary.
Dollarama will occupy space in the mall’s lower level in the former Walmart location. The store is slated to open sometime this fall. Kitchen Stuff Plus is expected to open in the next four to six weeks.
In 2011, Eastgate received the Silver Maple Leaf Award from the International Conference of Shopping Centres. In 2008, the mall was honoured with the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce’s Outstanding Business Achievement Award in the category of large business.