The M&M frozen-food company has set up shop at seven Canadian retail chains and c-stores. This included 11 Home Hardware stores across Saskatchewan.
"We are excited to be part of this pilot project of being able to bring a great product of M&MMarket Express into our community," said Ed Balyski, Home Hardware owner. "I never hesitated when the opportunity came up back in February when the 40-year-old company M&MFood Market Express contacted me. We reached an agreement on March 23 and we installed four coolers and received product that filled the cooler on July 28. There is a back-up cooler in the back for additional products. The present cooler has the capacity to hold 129 different products," said Balyski.
“The product line has been well received by the community members with return customers. I am thinking of expanding the coolers to be able to offer more of the great product. The convenience, healthy eating and great pricing makes the M&M Food Market Express food line such a huge hit.”
Preeceville Home Hardware is a family generation business that has been in business since 1960 when John Stadnick purchased it from Bob Giles. Ed Balyski took over the store in 1994.
Two years after undergoing a major rebrand, M&M Food Market has launched the next phase in its evolution: partnerships with other retailers.
The company, formerly known as M&M Meat Shops, has launched M&M Food Market Express, a branded frozen-food section at various retail chains.
The concept is currently in 32 Rexall stores in Toronto, around 40 Beaudry-Cadrin (Beau-soir) in Northern Quebec and 10 Avondale Food Stores in Southern Ontario.
M&M Food Market also has partnerships with Nunavut-based retailer and distributor Eskimo Point Lumber Supply, which sells a wide range of goods including groceries; and two convenience/gas station operators: MacEwen in Ontario and Quebec and KAR Holdings in Western Canada. The Express concept is also set up at 11 Canex military stores.
There are two main goals behind the new concept, says M&M Food Market CEO Andy O’Brien. “We wanted to go into smaller communities where it doesn’t make sense to put a full-size (M&M Food Market) there. For example, for populations below 15,000,” he says.
“The second reason is we really want to get some presence in urban markets in Canada, where M&M doesn’t have a lot of traditional stores.”
Though the partnership with Rexall doesn’t extend beyond the Greater Toronto Area, O’Brien says the company is evaluating other urban markets.
With each retail partner, M&M is the only frozen food player in the stores, other than frozen novelties, says O’Brien. “We offer a complete selection, from appetizers to desserts, to centre plate to side, so all the frozen products for them,” he says. The in-store set up is typically three or four freezer doors and sometimes a bunker as well, depending on the store setup.
M&M Food Market is aiming to have the Express concept in 200 stores, all existing retail partners.
“The reason we can do these programs with these partners is because of the change that we made to our business,” says O’Brien. “Rexall has a very strong health platform. The fact that we removed all the artificial colours, flavours and sweeteners in our products; changed our packaging and pack sizes; and improved our products and flavours made a massive difference in terms of the appeal that we have to consumers.”