A Greater Victoria-based independent grocer is expanding to North Saanich.
Red Barn Market is preparing to open its eighth location at Sandown Park Shopping Centre near Sidney, something co-owner Russ Benwell says is a natural fit for the retailer.
“We’re excited to be expanding again. I’m excited to be in the North Saanich community. It’s all positive on that front,” Benwell told CHEK News.
“I think there’s been a lot of demand over the years for us to open on the Peninsula, out toward Sidney.”
The chain, established in 2002, prides itself on being 100 per cent locally owned and operated. It already has locations in Esquimalt, James Bay, Oak Bay and West Saanich, as well as at Latoria Walk, Mattick’s Farm and Vanalman, though Benwell says the new store will be the largest of the bunch.
“It’s going to be a little bit bigger than our current footprint. We’re going to be about 10,000 square feet at this location,” he explained.
The store will be part of the soon-to-be-expanded shopping plaza on McDonald Park Road, home to a Canadian Tire that opened in 2018. Visible from the Pat Bay Highway, the expansion will feature a west-coast contemporary vibe and include about 170 parking stalls, states design plans.
“We’re really excited about the parking lot,” said Benwell, noting together with Canadian Tire’s existing lot, customers will have ample space to park their vehicles.
And it’s a plot of land packed with history.
Sandown Racetrack held its last race there in 2005, and in 2011, its owners expressed interest in rezoning the 95 acres. By 2014, the district’s Official Community Plan was amended so that 12 acres could be converted into commercial development. The remaining 83 acres, where the Sandown Centre for Regenerative Agriculture operates today, would be for agricultural use.
New store to open in 2024
Benwell says shoppers can expect all the Red Barn specialties in-store, like the popular sandwich bar and grab-and-go food sections.
“It should have lots of Red Barn goodies like our smokehouse items, like our bacon, pepperoni and sausages — all of the products we create in-house,” according to the co-owner.
The store will also have neighbours, including a Dollarama and a liquor store, as well as “other smaller, commercial retail tenants, ranging from about 1,500 square feet to about 5,000,” added Benwell. A development application shows 10 commercial units in total, with plans to expand the plaza again in the future.
Construction is expected to start this summer, and Benwell says the Red Barn should open in 2024.