Zellers reveals where its locations will return across Canada

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Zellers reveals where its locations will return across Canada
Author of the article:Denette Wilford
Published Jan 18, 2023 • 1 minute read

If you’ve been scouting probable locations where Zellers could return in your city, look no further.

The discount retailer announced Wednesday where its 25 “store experiences” across Canada will be.


Mississauga, Scarborough and Burlington are three of the nine Ontario locations that will feature Zellers’ much-anticipated return later this year.

Each of the retail spaces will be between 8,000 and 10,000 square feet, depending on the mall.



During its heyday, mostly in the 80s and 90s, Zellers operated 350 stores across the country. But by 2011, HBC sold lease agreements for nearly 200 of its stores to Target for $1.825 billion.

But Target stores north of the border didn’t last long.

Zellers gave it another go in August 2021 with pop-up shops in Burlington and Anjou, Que. But by August 2022, the retailer announced it was making a comeback.

Along with the 2023 openings will be the launch of the first-ever Zellers e-commerce site, Zellers.ca.

It’s not known whether Zellers will be bringing back its restaurants but fans have their fingers crossed.

“Please PLEASE tell me there will be a Zellers restaurant too,” one person wrote on Instagram. “I’ve been craving a Big Z burger for years.”



The full list of Ontario locations are:
Burlington Centre, Burlington

Cambridge Centre, Cambridge

Cataraqui Town Centre, Kingston

Erin Mills Town Centre, Mississauga

The Pen Centre, St. Catharines

CF Rideau Centre, Ottawa

St. Laurent Shopping Centre, Ottawa

Scarborough Town Centre, Scarborough

White Oaks Mall, London
 

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Zellers bringing back restaurant in a different way — for now
Author of the article:Denette Wilford
Published Jan 27, 2023 • 2 minute read

Official opening dates of Zellers’ 25 locations across the country have yet to be announced, testing the patience of hungry Canadians.

That said, those who have been craving a Big Z burger, club sandwich, grilled cheese, or their famous half and halfs (that would be half-fries, half-onion rings to you rookies out there), they could be back – but not the way you remember.


Zellers revealed that the restaurants that used to be in their stores won’t be at the new locations but, rather, at events celebrating store openings.

“That’s right – you want it, you got it,” Zellers posted on their social media pages.



“Whether you called it The Skillet or Zellers Family Restaurant back in the day, we’re comin’ in hot,” it continued. “From time-honoured classics to brand-new bites, a select menu will be cooked up and dished out of our custom Zellers Diner food trucks for a throwback event this spring!”

The retailer is asking fans to vote on their Instagram and Facebook Stories for their top five favourite items for the new menu that will only be available from food trucks.

Zellers stated in a press release that they “heard loud and clear the call for the restaurant return,” but there simply isn’t space.

“Although an in-store diner just isn’t possible in a 10,000 sq ft footprint, Zellers is mobilizing a fleet of food trucks to greet customers at its first locations opening this spring,” the retailer explained.


“Set to appear over a series of days, the Zellers Diner on wheels will pull into various locations and serve shoppers with some fan favourites from the fondly remembered Zellers Family Restaurant.”


Nostalgic fans put in their two cents but many were unhappy that the restaurants aren’t part of the revival.

“A food truck isn’t the same as a diner,” one sad fan wrote.

Another added: “Food trucks ain’t it. You didn’t hear us.”

Some optimists were hopeful that Zellers would start small, become a huge success and eventually go big – restaurants and all.



“I predict these are just baby steps and in about 3-4yrs time we will have full size Zellers stores again!,” one person forecasted, adding, “Target made the mistake of going too big too fast, HBC will take a slow methodical approach to their return.”

One woman said that “actually dining in the restaurant inside the store” was what she misses, Zellers gave her – and the rest of us – hope.

“We hear you! And we’re taking it one Zeddy step at a time to get it right,” the company wrote. “So it’s Diner on wheels to start.”
 

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Zellers unveils its winning 'nostalgia-inspired' food menu
Author of the article:Denette Wilford
Published Feb 16, 2023 • Last updated 1 day ago • 1 minute read

Canadians voted and Zellers is rewarding them.

Last month, the retailer put out a call to find out which dishes from its Zellers Family Restaurant – or, The Skillet, to which it was also referred – were the favourites back in the day.


Zellers revealed they were not able to bring back the dining rooms into the new locations due to the lack of space, but it wasn’t all disappointing news.

Instead of restaurants, Zellers will have food trucks on sight to celebrate the opening of its stores within Hudson’s Bay stores as well as the launch of Zellers.ca.


Following a Canada-wide poll put out on social media, Zellers has determined what items will be on the “nostalgia-inspired menu” at its Zellers Diner on Wheels.

“It was a heated race, but five menu items are now preparing for their comeback,” the company said in a news release.

Unsurprisingly, the winners are: the Big Z Burger, Hot Chicken Sandwich, Grilled Cheese, Chicken Fingers, and Fries and Gravy.

Sadly, the 3D club sandwich, fish and chips, and their half and halfs (half fries, half onion rings) did not make the cut.

The food trucks will roll in and serve up the diner favourites across a series of days this spring.

Following the initial stops and, depending on customer feedback, the Zellers Diner on Wheels will head out for a cross-country tour.

The dates of the store openings have yet to be announced but we do know where to line up.

GTA locations include Scarborough, Mississauga, Burlington, but fans can also find the stores in Cambridge, London, St. Catharines, Kingston and Ottawa.
 

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Nine Zellers locations, three in GTA, coming to Ontario on March 23
Author of the article:Jane Stevenson
Published Mar 14, 2023 • Last updated 1 day ago • 1 minute read

Zellers will open nine Ontario locations, all within Hudson’s Bay stores, starting March 23, as part of the popular discount department chain’s return to Canada.


Following an announcement earlier this year that plans call for the creation of 25 Zellers stores, among the first to open in the GTA will be those in Mississauga (Erin Mills Town Centre), Burlington (Burlington Mall), and Scarborough (Scarborough Town Centre).


The other Ontario locations are London (White Oaks Mall), St. Catharines (Pen Centre Shopping Plaza), Cambridge (Cambridge Centre), two in Ottawa (Rideau Centre and St. Laurent Centre) and Kingston (Cataraqui Town Centre).

The other three opening on March 23 are Alberta locations in Edmonton (Kingsway Garden Mall), Medicine Hat (Medicine Hat Mall), and Calgary (Sundridge Mall).

“Customers will be served across key lifestyle categories, including kitchen and bath, accent furniture and home decor, organization and storage, baby and kids toys and apparel, pets, and apparel basics for men and women,” the company said in a press release.

Zellers.ca e-commerce platform will also launch on March 23.

The discount retail chain shut its doors in Canada in 2013 when U.S. retailer Target bought 220 Zellers stores in a $1.8-billion deal with Hudson’s Bay Co. Target’s Canadian expansion failed and the retail closed in 2015.
 

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Zellers opens a dozen stores in Canada amid wave of nostalgia and price sensitivity
The products and displays look like a blend between Ikea and Walmart, one customer said

Author of the article:Canadian Press
Canadian Press
Brett Bundale
Published Mar 23, 2023 • Last updated 1 day ago • 2 minute read

Canadian retail chain Zellers marked its official comeback on Thursday, opening a dozen stores in Ontario and Alberta and launching a new website.


The return of the discount department store comes amid a wave of nostalgia for the brand and growing demand for affordable goods as inflation pushes up the cost of living.


The company plans to open 25 locations across Canada within Hudson’s Bay department stores, Hudson’s Bay Co. spokeswoman Tiffany Bourre said.

The additional store openings will be phased in over time, and the retailer isn’t ruling out the potential for stand-alone locations, she said.

The 10,000-square-foot Zellers stores feature an assortment of products, including clothing, toys and home and living items, under the company’s in-house brand name Anko.

The private-label products are exclusive to Zellers within Canada, with no crossover between Hudson’s Bay and Zellers stores, Bourre said.



Gillian Alleyne stopped into the Zellers at the Hudson’s Bay at Scarborough Town Centre in Toronto during her lunch hour on Thursday.

“I work close to here and I came in to see the prices and the quality of the products,” she said in an interview. “It looks a little more like a high-end Zellers compared to what I remember. It’s appealing to the eye.”

Although she went to Zellers to browse, Alleyne said the products looked “enticing” and made her want to open her wallet.

“”It makes me want to spend a little more money than I expected,“ she said.

The products and displays look like a blend between Ikea and Walmart, Alleyne said.

“It looks nice but the prices are still reasonable,” she said. “Bath mats are about $10. It’s really affordable.”


The company has also launched a Zellers e-commerce website.



All items both online and in-stores feature so-called rounded pricing, so for example $5 rather than $4.99 or $5.49.

It’s about offering customers a “simplified and easy” shopping experience with reasonable prices for quality goods, Bourre said.

The relaunch of Zellers comes a decade after it closed most of its locations.

It also comes at a time when Canadians are seeking relief from the highest inflation in nearly 40 years, offering more competition in a discount market largely dominated by Walmart, Giant Tiger and Dollarama.


The resurrection of the retailer also taps into the nostalgia for the Zellers brand, evoking fond memories for some of meals at its diner and Zeddy, its teddy bear mascot.

While the footprint of the new Zellers stores — within the existing Hudson’s Bay department stores — does not accommodate a restaurant, the company will have food trucks at some locations offering the top menu items.

The five menu items are the big “Z” burger, hot chicken sandwich, grilled cheese, chicken fingers and fries with gravy.

The chain’s Zeddy mascot — which arguably elicited some of the greatest sentimentality among some former shoppers — is expected to make a return soon, Bourre said.

The mascot was adopted by a charity after Zellers wound down operations, she said.

“Zeddy has been in active service since Zellers closed,” she said. “He’s working hard in the background.”

The store is hoping to bring Zeddy back into stores soon with a charity component, Bourre said.
 

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Recent Zellers opening offers a trip down food memory lane for many
Author of the article:Rita DeMontis
Published Mar 29, 2023 • Last updated 2 days ago • 4 minute read

I recently had the opportunity to visit a Zellers, one of the many scheduled to re-open as pop-up shops across Canada. Zellers landed on the Canadian landscape back in 1931, starting in Ontario, and became a household name with more than 300 locations across the country.


Many Canadians shopped there – and ate there – with dozens of the locations offering a 1950s style diner that had a very Happy Days throwback vibe.


But like all businesses transitioning with the evolving shopping landscape, the chain struggled before closing all its doors 10 years ago. Until a few weeks ago, when word spread that Zellers locations are now coming back, as pop-up shops inside various Hudson’s Bay locations across the country.

I have fond memories of shopping at Zellers – with my mom, or with my girlfriends, looking for the latest lipstick colour, or to purchase back-to-school clothing. And to stop and have a bite to eat in one of the many old-style diners famous for their wrap-around counters and round, vinyl seats.


Zellers menu from years past – supplied
Zellers menu from years past – supplied Hudson's Bay Company Corporate Archives.
Diner foods ruled – and Zellers did it best, with such comfort classics as hot chicken sandwiches, grilled cheese, fries with gravy and the famous Big Z Burger, not to mention creamy milkshakes and old-school desserts. Yum!

So, when the opportunity came to check out one of the first Zellers to re-open, I happily jumped at the chance. The location I visited was in Toronto’s Scarborough Town Centre, and was nicely ensconced on the top floor of the Bay. The visit wasn’t so much a nostalgic trip into the past, but a chance to witness the company smartly stepping into the future with a new format and new re-branding. True, the place was much smaller than the Zellers of past years, but the products are more aligned with today’s Canadian shopper in mind.


Zellers famous B Z Burger – supplied
Zellers famous B Z Burger – supplied Hudson's Bay Company Corporate Archives.
All in all, the experience was pleasant. Plus – we all had a chance to taste-test Zellers’ food offerings, chowing down on the company’s iconic fan faves – only in smaller serving, so we could get to taste everything, washed down with an old-fashioned soda.

The bad news is – there are no Zellers old-fashioned diners where one can order these tasty offerings. The good news is – these dishes are now available from the Zellers Diners on Wheels food trucks – and only available in choice locations for a few days in the spring (check the website for exact locations) – and where the executive chef pays homage to the original recipes.

Of course, I’m now nostalgic for dishes that bring back memories. Each decade had their own – from the 1930’s, when potato soup and chocolate cream pie were dinner standards, to the 1940’s, which saw creamed chip beef on toast and mashed potatoes grace many a table, to the 1950’s, when Beef Stroganoff and meatloaf were on the menu. The 1960’s, Chicken a la King ruled! And everyone was in love with Liptons’s Onion Soup dip, while in the 1970’s multi-layered jello molds complete with cream cheese layers sparkled many a wedding or baby shower, along with quiche (who can forget that catch-phrase, Real Men Eat Quiche!)


The 1980’s saw people ordering an Orange Julius with a raw egg blended in for good measure, and a some of the newer dishes included blackened catfish, while the 1990’s saw everyone clamouring for bagel bites, pizza rolls and hot pockets!

The 2000’s saw a return to classics, like mac ‘n cheese, chicken pot pie and cupcakes – thanks in part to many looking for to be comforted after 9/11. Throughout the decades, we have seen food trends come and go, but nostalgic dishes seem to always be there, when we need them.

So – here’s to you, Zellers! Thanks for the mouthfuls and the memories. I think I’m going to fix myself a nice grilled cheese sandwich, with fries and gravy, and salute you for coming back.

Chicken Pot Pie – Food Network Canada
Chicken Pot Pie – Food Network Canada supplied
Deconstructed Chicken Pot Pie

This chicken pot just brims with nostalgia and is so good you won’t believe it’s ready in only 16 minutes. Serves six. Plus any leftovers can be perfect for a hot chicken sandwich. Courtesy of Ree Drummon for foodnetwork.ca.

2 Tbsp. butter

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into small cubes

3 celery stalks, finely diced

2 carrots, peeled and finely diced

1 large onion, finely diced

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 sheets frozen puff pastry (from a 17.3-oz pkg.), thawed

1 large egg, whisked with 1 tsp. water

1/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/8 tsp. turmeric

3 cups low-sodium chicken stock, hot

2 cups half-and-half

2/3 cup frozen peas

2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves picked

1 small sprig fresh rosemary, leaves chopped


Preheat the oven to 425F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add chicken, celery, carrots, onion and some salt and pepper. Cook until vegetables just begin to soften, about 7 minutes.

Meanwhile, make crusts. Unroll both sheets of pastry, even out surface with a rolling pin and cut out 3 circles from each. Transfer circles to prepared baking sheets, poke them all over with a fork and brush with egg wash. Sprinkle over some salt and pepper. Bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes.

While pastry bakes, sprinkle flour over chicken and vegetables and add turmeric; cook for 2 minutes. Pour in hot stock, add half-and-half, peas, thyme and rosemary and cook until sauce thickens, another 3 minutes. Serve in bowls topped with crusts.
 

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Zellers to expand across Canada
Author of the article:Denette Wilford
Published May 23, 2023 • Last updated 1 day ago • 1 minute read

It seems the relaunch of Zellers is a success.

Hudson’s Bay announced it would be expanding the discount retailer across Canada after it raised $240 million in additional liquidity to “further invest in and grow its operating businesses,” the company said in a press release.


“We have always said that we will listen to Canadians, and they will tell us where to grow,” Sophia Hwang-Judiesch, president of Hudson’s Bay, said in a statement.

“With these pop-ups, our expansion strategy will be fuelled by the interest and feedback from our customers across the country.”



Zellers’ first pop-ups opened within The Bay stores earlier this year in Ontario and Alberta and stores in British Columbia, Nova Scotia, Quebec, Saskatchewan and Manitoba quickly followed.

The iconic brand, which also launched its e-commerce site, intends to open larger “footprint” stores in some or all of those same locations.

Depending on customer response, the company will determine if a more permanent location will open in that market.

HBC said Zellers will continue its “everyday low prices” philosophy across categories including basic clothing for adults, housewares, toys and pet accessories.

It also promises its list of offerings will expand.

The first expansion will launch at Hudson’s Bay’s flagship Queen St. store in June, with 20 more expected to open in August.

Those locations have yet to be announced.
 

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Zellers pop-ups to land in all remaining Hudson’s Bay locations
Author of the article:Canadian Press
Canadian Press
Published Sep 06, 2023 • 1 minute read
Hudson's Bay says it is expanding its Zellers brand to a slew of its department stores.
Hudson's Bay says it is expanding its Zellers brand to a slew of its department stores.
Hudson’s Bay says it is expanding its Zellers brand to even more of its department stores.


The Toronto-based retailer says Zellers pop-ups will open within all Hudson’s Bay stores that have not yet featured the discount chain.


The expansion will cover 13 Ontario locations, seven in B.C., six in Alberta, four in Quebec and one in Manitoba.



They will be open in time for the holiday season and bring the number of Hudson’s Bay stores with a Zellers presence to 78.

The locations typically have a footprint ranging from 1,000 to 2,800 square feet and stock an array of affordable household goods.

Hudson’s Bay says it is using the pop-ups to determine which markets would be ideal for future Zellers stores.

“Pop-ups are a key ingredient in our expansion strategy, allowing us to explore and test in new markets and fine-tune our offering before establishing larger format store locations,” Sophia Hwang-Judiesch, Hudson’s Bay’s president, said in a statement.

“Our customers are in the driver’s seat — they will tell us how and where to grow.”
 
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