KaleMart24 aims to be the Whole Foods of Canadian convenience
Entrepreneur behind Toro Beverages aims to open more than 30 stores by the end of 2025.
A new c-store entrant, called KaleMart24, is aiming to become the “Whole Foods of Convenience Stores,” with the first store set to open in Montreal this quarter and plans for more than 30 corporate-owned locations in Canada.
Entrepreneur Oussama (Sam) Saoudi, who is CEO, director and founder of the growth-focused concept, says KaleMart24 will be “breaking through the mold of c-stores being associated with junk food by offering healthier choices that cater to a mobile-savvy younger generation.”
“I love on-the-go options and we, millennials, are the ones driving the trend for increased visits to c-stores and grab-and-go stores,” adds Saoudi. “We are becoming more conscious about our health, however, the natural food and beverage options in c-stores are currently very limited or nonexistent.”
As the name suggests, KaleMart24 will be open 24/7, and include multiple payment options, including self checkout, contactless and mobile.
“We are working with [real estate broker] Think Retail to find the optimal first location,” says Saoudi, adding that “close-to-home or on the way to work locations” are top of mind.
Retail design firm Gervais Harding & Associates is handling the look of the store. Visually, the firm is finalizing a design that would combine the homey feel of a neighbourhood food market with “the modern elegance of an upscale c-store,” says Saoudi.
KaleMart24 will also have a made-to-eat area for pick-up of warm and/or fresh, nutritious meals.
Saoudi is already a successful entrepreneur, as CEO of Toro Beverages Inc., a brand of sugar-fee matcha-based energy beverages he launched in 2019. It is currently expanding distribution from Canada into the U.S.
As for merchandising of KaleMart24, “we will be selecting best seller products at Whole Foods Market for each category,” explains Saoudi. Categories range from food and beverage to personal care and even organic pet food.
The company also has a nutritionist on the team to help source the best natural and organic food products available.
In addition to the beverage brand he launched, Toro, the first store will carry OatLy, Just Egg, Califia Farms, GT Kombucha, Mandy’s Gourmet Salads, Chobani, La Croix, FairLife, Unreal, Justin’s, SmartSweets, Kettle, Driscoll’s organic berries, Mrs. Meyer’s cleaning products, Starbucks and Hu Chocolate.
KaleMart24 fills a void in the marketplace and taps into a growing category, says Saoudi. He cites the fact that that the organic food and beverage sector grew 7.1% in 2022 versus the year prior (Future Market Insights Global and Consulting), and that “the overall trend in c-store is towards fresh and healthy prepared food items. Millennials desire a higher quality food experience with a unique narrative and authentic global flavours.”
The goal, Saoudi shares, is to have five locations in Montreal within the next 12 months, and “to reach over 30 locations by the end of 2025” in major markets, including Vancouver and Toronto.
“All of these will be corporate,” Saodui adds. “We will explore franchising afterwards.”
A loyalty rewards program is also being developed for the brand. “Depending on their status with us, customers will receive ongoing cash-back on their purchases as well as special offers,” notes Saoudi.
The store will have three membership tiers: Sliver, Gold and Elite. “Unlocking and keeping a status depends on how much the customer spends in a given calendar year,” he says.