Gi­ant Tiger roars into Char­lot­te­town

Long-awaited store of­fi­cially opens at Univer­sity Plaza to­day

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FRONT PAGE - BY DAVE STE­WART

The owner of Char­lot­te­town’s new Gi­ant Tiger said to­day is a dream come true for him.

Shane Dem­mings is re­fer­ring to the open­ing of the 24,930-square foot store at Univer­sity Plaza at 8 a.m.

“I started with Gi­ant Tiger 13 years ago in Monc­ton, and we opened the fourth store in the Mar­itimes at that time and, within a year or two, I knew Char­lot­te­town, P.E.I., was where I wanted to open a store,’’ Dem­mings told The Guardian dur­ing a tour of the new store on Fri­day.

“We had so many shop­pers com­ing over from the Is­land ask­ing, ‘When is this store com­ing to Char­lot­te­town?’ ’’

So, he got on a train­ing pro­gram to get him­self into the store man­age­ment sys­tem and was able to open a store in Bridge­wa­ter, N.S., and spent seven years in Nova Sco­tia. He moved up to owner in his third year.

Gi­ant Tiger may be open­ing to­day but it’s been try­ing to squeeze into the Char­lot­te­town mar­ket for years, even be­fore it opened a store in Sum­mer­side.

“We’ve had quite a few hits and misses try­ing to get into the Char­lot­te­town mar­ket over the years and, fi­nally, we were able to come to an agree­ment last Septem­ber to put this store to­gether.’’

Per­son­ally, the Monc­ton, N.B., na­tive said he’s be­yond ex­cited to be in Char­lot­te­town.

“Prince Ed­ward Is­land is a dream for us. My wife and I hon­ey­mooned over here 19 years ago, and we ab­so­lutely fell in love with the Is­land. We’ve re­turned ev­ery sum­mer for a cou­ple of weeks and it gets harder and harder to leave.’’

Gi­ant Tiger is 100 per cent Cana­dian owned and op­er­ated and is known for its work in the com­mu­nity with or­ga­ni­za­tions

such as Boys and Girls Clubs and fam­ily re­source cen­tres. It re­cently got into pro­mot­ing women in sports.

While the store doesn’t of­fi­cially open un­til to­day, a few lucky peo­ple re­ceived in­vites to shop on Fri­day.

“My first im­pres­sion is that it’s big­ger than the ones we have in On­tario where we live,’’ said Mike Chan­dler, who is va­ca­tion­ing in P.E.I. with his fam­ily from St. Cather­ines, Ont.

“I get all my clothes for work­ing in auto man­u­fac­tur­ing here. I like that it’s Cana­dian and the work clothes here pro­vide good value. They do last, and I’m pretty hard on them, too,’’

Wayne Bell of Char­lot­te­town was also im­pressed.

“I think it’s ab­so­lutely won­der­ful – good deals, nice and clean, very bright and very cheer­ful,’’ Bell said. “I would def­i­nitely come back and shop here.’’

Is­abel McLean of Mon­tague said she won’t find it hard to come back.

“It’s the low cost and it’s got ev­ery­thing,’’ McLean said. “And the staff here, they’re so friendly.

DAVE STE­WART/THE GUARDIAN

Shane Dem­mings, owner of the Gi­ant Tiger store in Char­lot­te­town, says the store has a full gro­cery sec­tion. The potatoes, onions and car­rots are all sourced from McKenna’s.

DAVE STE­WART/THE GUARDIAN

Is­abel McLean of Mon­tague checks out the mer­chan­dise at Gi­ant Tiger in Char­lot­te­town. She was one of the few lucky peo­ple to get an early in­vite to shop at the store. It of­fi­cially opens to­day.

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