Foodtastic acquires Big Rig Kitchen & Brewery

June 11, 2019

Foodtastic Inc., the Quebec-based franchisor of multiple restaurant concepts, is now adding beer to its business model with the acquisition of Big Rig Brewery and Big Rig Restaurants (Big Rig).
Foodtastic, which already operates 55 restaurants under seven different banners, including Au Coq, La Belle et La Boeuf, Monza, Carlos & Pepe's, Souvlaki Bar, Nickels, and Bacaro, is a leader in the restaurant franchising business with $125 million in annualized sales.
Founded in Ottawa in 2012, Big Rig Restaurants is an Ottawa favourite for great beer and food. In 2014, the company built a state-of-the-art brewery to expand the distribution of the beer into retail outlets. Today, Big Rig’s award-winning beer is available in more than 1,000 locations in several provinces.
"Big Rig is a treasured local brand and we are excited to welcome Big Rig into the Foodtastic family,” said Peter Mammas, president and CEO of Foodtastic. “We look forward to preserving Big Rig's strong brand, while growing the restaurant system across the region. We are already looking at locations in Toronto. This acquisition of a homegrown Ontario business is consistent with our strategy of acquiring quality brands with growth potential that complement our existing brand portfolio. We believe the Big Rig acquisition will leverage our marketing, purchasing and operational systems to better serve our Big Rig customers and welcome many new ones." 
As part of the transaction, award-winning brew master Lon Ladell is staying on board and increasing his equity stake in the brewery. "Foodtastic is an amazing company and I'm thrilled to continue being a part of Big Rig brewery's exciting future,” Ladell said.  “With the financial support from Foodtastic we can now expand our operations throughout Canada.”
This latest acquisition is part of Foodtastic’s mandate to ramp up growth with new and existing brands following a $47-million investment from Restaurant Royalty Partners.
"Our partnership with Restaurant Royalty Partners (RRP) marks an exciting next step in our company's growth. This capital will accelerate Foodtastic's strategy of acquiring brands with strong potential for growth," Mammas said when announcing the investment in December. Think Retail is thrilled to work with Foodtastic as it goes from strength to strength and grows its brands in markets across the country. For more information about this innovative company, visit the Foodtastic website or contact the Think Retail team.

Chocolatier Jeff de Bruges opens at Carrefour Industrielle Alliance in Montreal

June 04, 2019

French chocolatier and ice cream house Jeff de Bruges is celebrating the opening of a new kiosk at Carrefour Industrielle Alliance in Montreal as part of an ongoing expansion strategy. 
The European concept debuted in Canada in 2014 and has built a strong following among those drawn to its combination of exquisite Belgian chocolates, ice cream and other treats. 
Jeff de Bruges’ new 175-sq.-ft. kiosk at Carrefour Industrielle Alliance is well located in the 210,000-sq.-ft. historical building, the heart of Montreal’s pedestrian network. The destination space is home to a number of popular restaurants and boutiques, as well as anchors, La Maison Simons and the Banque Scotia Theatre.
Think Retail is thrilled to work with the Jeff de Bruges team on the next phase of growth. The French company is household name in Europe. Launched by Philippe Jambon as a chocolatier in 1986, it started selling ice cream in 1990 and now operates more than 500 stores across France, including corporate and franchises, and close to 40 international locations. Chocolates are imported from Belgium and ice cream is locally sourced—in Quebec, it’s Bilboquet.
In September, Jeff de Bruges will move from a temporary pop-up space to a new 650-sq.-ft. store at the Montreal Eaton Centre, which is reinventing itself with a $200 million large-scale redevelopment project. This flagship space will replace the brand’s debut location at Place Montreal Trust.
Next up, Jeff de Bruges is looking to expand in super-regional malls across the Province of Quebec and possibly open a location in Ottawa. It has two strong formats—kiosks of about 175 sq. ft. and inline stores of 500 to 850 sq. ft. 
This is a marquee brand and a valuable co-tenant that draws repeat customers seeking the perfect gift or treat. The stores have an industrial chic vibe with a modern turquoise and brown palette that’s echoed in its packaging. 
For more about this powerhouse brand and its plans for expansion in Canada, visit the Jeff de Bruges website, or contact the Think Retail team.

Glassbox Barbershop seeks flagship Montreal location

May 24, 2019

Glassbox Barbershop is where trend meets tradition, offering an old-school community gathering space with a modern edge. 
Founded in August 2015 by Peter Gosling, Glassbox now has three locations—two in Toronto and one in Hamilton—and expansion is part of the vision.
The original barbershop is on Harbord Street in Toronto and lays the foundation for the brand ethos. In addition to barber chairs and related amenities, the spacious store features a show-stopping black-felt pool table. The clean, modern aesthetic has a skate culture vibe, with boards hanging on the walls alongside the work of local artists. Glassbox is a place you want to hang out, not just come for a cut.
Gosling and his team, which includes a marketing director, understand the value of brand building and creating a more extensive experience for customers. Glassbox is heavy on social media, hosts a slew of cool events and is involved in numerous industry-related initiatives. They have established themselves as the go-to experts for all things barber related and are elevating the standards for men’s haircutting.

Also, through the clever Glassbox Education program, they operate courses for those who want to learn barbering fundamentals (these classes also serve as a scouting ground for future barbers).

Glassbox has a second Toronto location in the hip Roncesvalles neighbourhood and Hamilton is now on the map. In both cases, Glassbox maintains it's modern aesthetic, but is unique to the community it serves.
The concept is poised for growth with their three successful shops already up and running. 
Think Retail is thrilled to work with Glassbox on its entry into the Quebec market. First up, we’re looking for a definitive high street flagship location in Montreal.
Ideals spaces are 800 to 1,000 sq. ft. in areas where Glassbox’s core demographics—young professionals in their early 30s, university students and creative minds—gather.

As part of its five-year vision, once a Montreal shop is established, Glassbox will be ready to expand into other regions (Quebec City, Laval, etc.).

Think Retail is excited to help bring this innovative barbershop concept to the Quebec market. 
For more information, please contact the Think Retail Team.

International Currency Exchange announce two new locations and more on the way

March 25, 2019

With two new stores in as many months, International Currency Exchange (ICE) continues steady and sustainable growth in Canada. Next up, the company is looking to open as many as five more.
With more than 40 years experience, ICE is a high-profile global brand that has earned is place as one of the largest and most respected retail currency exchange brands in the world.
At Think Retail, we’ve had the great pleasure since 2008 of working with ICE on its growth here in Canada. Last month, ICE opened a new location on St. Martin Boulevard in Laval, Que. and this month the company will open a kiosk at Oakville Place in the affluent community of Oakville, Ont.
The enclosed shopping centre, which caters to a sophisticated consumer, is the ideal fit for the ICE brand. Located at the highly visible intersection of Queen Elizabeth Way and Trafalgar Road, this recently renovated centre offers an impressive tenant mix, with more than 100 retailers and noteworthy tenants including Hudson's Bay, H&M, SportChek, and Sephora. It’s in a high-traffic area and is easily accessible by vehicle and public transit.
Think Retail is now working with the ICE team to open three to five new locations in 2019 and 2020. At the moment, ICE operates more than 80 branches in Canada, located in shopping centres, retail hubs and major airports, including Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Montreal, Ottawa, Victoria and Quebec City. Moving forward, ideal spaces in existing markets will focus on kiosks in regional and super regional malls. Other areas of interest include, 500 to 1,000 sq. ft. in open-air centres with supermarkets, pharmacies and bank. Downtown Montreal and Toronto (Yonge and Dundas corridor) are of particular interest.
Founded in the UK in 1973, ICE now has more than 400 locations in 20 countries across four continents and this exciting organization keeps growing. On average, ICE manages a transaction every six seconds and serves more than 7 million customers a year.
It continues to build on its strong reputation for customer-friendly foreign exchange and related services, including a popular Click & Collect service. It offers an extensive range of major and exotic currencies that cater to Canada’s diverse and well-travelled population. Other services include, currency wires, money drafts, all kinds of cheques, money orders, travelers cheques and travelers GST returns. As well, some stores facilitate the sale of gold bullions, souvenir coins, Olympic coins and travelers insurance, while operating ATM bank machines.
For more about this impressive international company and its Canadian expansion plans, visit or contact the Think Retail Team.

Plant-based eating made easy with 25 new Copper Branch restaurants opening in 2019

February 18, 2019

Copper Branch is giving Canadians a healthy hand with an exciting plant-based menu and major expansion plans that will make it easier (and tastier) to adhere to Canada’s new Food Guide, which emphasizes the importance of plant-based eating. 
Established in Montreal in 2014, the vegan eatery was ahead of the curve and is driving force behind a major food movement, offering a fresh and healthy take on the QSR experience. Founder Rio Infantino spent 25 years in the traditional fast-food franchise business; then he set out to do things differently, turning “real” nourishing gourmet power foods into fast food designed to appeal to an audience hungry for options. 
The company, which now operates 45 restaurants, has established itself as a market leader, serving 100% plant-based power foods designed for health-conscious time-strapped consumers.
Today, Copper Branch has 45 locations – it has a major presence in Canada, having recently debuted in Alberta, while growing its foothold in the United States and France. Think Retail is thrilled to work with this forward thinking company on its expansion and we are pleased to announce several new locations opening this year: 

• Bathurst and Centre Streets, Thornhill – opened February 11 

• 660 Richmond St., London – opens this month 

• Bramalea City Centre, Brampton – opens this month 

• Limeridge Mall, Hamilton – opens spring 2019

• Yonge/Sheppard Centre, Toronto – opens spring 2019

• Bathurst and College Streets, Toronto – opens spring 2019

• 90 Burnhamthorpe Rd. at Hurontario, Mississauga – opens summer 2019

• Winston Churchill and Argentia Road, Mississauga – opens summer 2019

• Trafalgar and Dundas Roads, Oakville – opens summer 2019


• 20 boulevard Mortagne, Boucherville

• Centre Commercial St Luc, St Jean Sur Richelie

• 177 boulevard Sir Wilfred Laurier, St Basile le Grand

• 1732 rue St-Denis, Montreal

• 1320 rue Ste-Catherine E, Montreal

• 5385 Queen Mary Rd., Montreal

• 2350 Wilfred Reid, St. Laurent 

• 1180 rue Stanley, downtown Montreal

• Tour Fresk, Ville de Québec

• Le Complexe de la Capital, 5600 boulevard Des Galeries, Quebec 

• Odacite, 2e rue Est l’avenue Leonidas Sud, Rimouski


• South Edmonton Commons – now open

• Bankers Hall, Calgary – opens March

• Marquee, Calgary – opens May

• Seton, Calgary – opens September/October 

United States

• 1515 17 St., Fort Lauderdale, Florida – now open

• 195 Bleecker St., New York – opens March 

The momentum continues and Copper Branch seeks opportunities in all markets across the country. Ideal spaces are 1,250 to 2,000 sq. ft. in open-air centres and 450 to 1,500 sq. ft. in enclosed malls. 
For information or to discuss Copper Branch’s expansion and vision, visit or contact the Think Retail Team.

Change Lingerie unveils three new boutiques and plans for Alberta

January 30, 2019

Change Lingerie is celebrating the opening of three new stores—one in Ottawa and two in Quebec—as it continues impressive growth across the country.
The company opened a 705 sq. ft. boutique in the nation’s capital, at the recently revamped Rideau Centre, as well as a 590 sq. ft. store in CF Galeries d’Anjou and a larger, 1,000 sq. ft. store, at Promenades Gatineau. 
It’s an exciting time for Change Lingerie, a leading international brand that launched in Denmark 1997, first as a private label brand before opening its first stand-alone retail store in 2001. Today, it has more than 200 stores in Europe and Canada, as well as an international online store.
Change debuted here in 2006 and now has 23 locations spanning British Columbia, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Quebec. In 2018, the company opened in Metropolis at Metrotown in Burnaby, BC and CF Lime Ridge Mall in Hamilton, Ont.
Additional openings will be announced shortly, as part of a vision to open up to 10 locations in 2019. Change continues to focus on British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec. However, in 2020, the dynamic brand plans to debut in Alberta and is seeking the right venue: Ideal spaces are 600 to 1,000 sq. ft.
Change is a fantastic tenant with a loyal customer base. Its charming boutiques draw repeat traffic, as the brand has a strong reputation for offering women the perfect fit, with beautiful design. Its mission is simple: “To provide the perfect bra to as many women around the world as possible.” And, it does just that, with affordable fashionable collections from A to M cups in a variety of styles.
Think Retail is thrilled to work with the Change team as it continues to grow across Canada.
For more, visit the Change website or contact the Think Retail Team.