Mark Clairmont |

GRAVENHURST — Full-service grocery shopping is the order of the day Wednesday, March 18, when Giant Tiger expands its meat products service to include chicken, chops, steaks, roasts, ground beef and more.

The popular discount department store chain at the south end of town, which draws customers from across north and west Muskoka, will be getting meat in its mid-week delivery.

Franchise owner Jeff Zatorski told that he’s bought two new four-foot coolers for more meat and produce sales.

The opening day will include some “in-store sales” of items like “chicken and chops.”

In addition, a large new refrigerator in the back will allow GT staff to restock the meat display between its thrice weekly store deliveries.

So all the meat will be fresh, says Zatorski.

He says it will be top triple-A, Canadian product.

And all at highly “competitive” prices in a Gravenhurst grocery market widely known for its steep local food shopping prices, which have driven many shoppers to cheaper competitor providers at Walmart and Food Basics in Bracebridge and Orillia.

“No exception,” says Zatorski, “probably cheaper.”

The new meat department will complement the existing deli selection already in place, I including cold meat and bacon etc.

Zatorski says the addition completes the store’s transition to include a full-service grocery shopping experience, in addition to its various other complementary food, clothing and wide variety of general merchandise items for the family, home and cottage markets in Gravenhurst and Muskoka.

The meat move is the latest part of the Quebec-based Canadian national chain’s initiative in its Central Ontario division.

The only other nearest Giant Tiger stores are in Orillia and North Bay.

Zatorski, who has run the 10-year-old 11,700-square-foot franchise the past three years says “it completes the shopping experience for customers,” who he says have been asking for it winter and summer.

He says a lot of cottagers and Muskoka residents have asked for a more meat and barbecue meat selections when in the store.

Previously, it was a “frustration” for customers to have shop around after leaving GT.

“My wife and I go elsewhere to shop for meat.”

It’s all part of the company’s initiative to stay competitive in the growing food services industry.

And to “change the image” of GT as not just a “low-end” discount market provider.

Their next company flyer on Feb. 18 will advertise the new full-range of meat prices.

Zatorski added that there is no plan at the present to consider expansion next door at the plaza when the Home Hardware relocates uptown this spring.

He says he’ll have to wait until neighbouring tenant Ian McNaughton moves out, before anything could happen.

The plaza is currently for sale.

Meanwhile, Zstorski says that will free up a few more parking spots for his customers.

Giant Tiger has 250 stores across much of Canada, including seven provinces from the Maritimes to Alberta, including Winnipeg and Saskatchewan.

Giant Tiger changing its image by becoming a full-service grocery shopping experience Wednesday when it expands its dairy, deli and meat department with a full line-up of steaks, roasts, beef, chicken and pork chops at “competitive” and “probably cheaper” triple-A Canadian meat starting Wednesday, Feb. 12, says franchise owner/manager Jeff Zatorski.

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