T & T Supermarket
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(Metropolis at Metrotown, Burnaby, Metro Vancouver, British Columbia)
President and CEO
|Headquarters||Richmond, British Columbia|
|Number of locations||22 (20 T&T and 2 Osaka Supermarkets)|
|Products||Bakery, dairy, deli, frozen foods, grocery, meat, produce, seafood, snacks|
T & T Supermarket (simplified Chinese: 大统华超级市场; traditional Chinese: 大統華超級市場; pinyin: Dàtǒnghuá Chāojíshìchǎng) is an Asian-Canadian supermarket chain which sells primarily Taiwanese, Chinese, and other Asian foods. The supermarket chain is headquartered in Richmond, British Columbia. In 1993, the first T & T was opened in Burnaby's Metropolis at Metrotown, a shopping centre in the Metrotown area in Metro Vancouver.
With rapid expansion, T & T is now Canada's largest Asian supermarket chain. It has ten stores across Metro Vancouver, four in Alberta (two in Calgary and two in Edmonton), and nine stores in Ontario with eight stores in the Greater Toronto Area including Downtown Toronto, and one in Ottawa. More stores are expected to open in the coming years with a target for 10 in Eastern Canada.
The average size of each store is between 35,000 sq ft (3,300 m2). and 45,000 sq ft (4,200 m2). In addition to the many departments found in a regular supermarket, most T & T stores also have an in-house bakery, an Asian deli, a sushi and Chinese barbecue department.
T & T is part of Loblaw Companies, which purchased it in July 2009 for $225 million in consideration, consisting of $191 million in cash and $34 million in preferred shares. The consideration paid above and beyond the tangible asset base of the company (i.e. the accounting goodwill) which was estimated at $180 million. The chain had been created as a joint venture of Uni-President Enterprises Corporation, one of Taiwan's ten largest conglomerates; Tawa Supermarkets Inc., a California-based chain of Asian supermarkets; and a group of Canadian investors. President and CEO Cindy Lee is a Taiwanese-Canadian who started the business with one store.
The first "T" stands for Tawa Supermarket Inc; the second "T" represents Uni-President Enterprises Corp., whose Chinese name is pronounced "Tung Yee".
Ongoing unionization issues
Huff Post Business Canada reported on July 17, 2012 that workers at a T&T Supermarket warehouse in Scarborough, Ontario, would head to a secret ballot vote on Monday, July 23, 2012 for unionization. The United Food and Commercial Workers (UFCW) filed an application for certification with the Ontario Labour Relations Board on July 16, 2012. According to UFCW national representative Kevin Shimmin, the workers at the T&T Supermarket Scarborough warehouse, are seeking unionization to attempt improving scheduling issues as well as tying wage more closely to seniority, instead of favouritism. Shimmin gave in the article an example that Warehouse staffs at T&T Supermarket are working a 39-hour work week, spanning six days in a week. He also pointed out that there are cases where staff have been working for T&T Supermarket for three years and are still earning a minimum wage of $10.25 per hour. Paul Ho, marketing manager for the grocery chain in Ontario, said he did not have details about wages, but maintained that work hours "vary from individual to individual, and depends on the production schedule."
The Globe and Mail reported on July 23, 2012 the result of T&T Supermarket Scarborough warehouse staff unionization. About 100 employees at the T&T Scarborough warehouse voted in the secret ballot vote on Monday July, 23. However, the Ontario Labour Relations Board sealed the ballot box for review. Dispute arose as the UFCW and T&T Supermarket argued about the eligibility of the voters in the voter list. UFCW national representative Kevin Shimmin said that the dispute caused the secret ballot vote to be reviewed, while Cindy Lee, chief executive officer at T&T Supermarket claimed that it was the decision of the Ontario Labour Relations Board to look into whether the union has enough support from employees to in the first place file the application.
Lawsuit of exploitation
On March 5, 2007, The Tyee blog reported a case of a foreign temporary worker who had been exploited, and had his passport seized by T & T Supermarket. According to The Tyee's coverage, "In a notice of claim filed with the small claims division of the provincial court of B.C., Gui Qiang Zou claims he was pressured into working longer hours for lower wages than promised after the firm kept his passport and other key documents."