Fresh and fast – Invest Medicine Hat

Fresh and fast

News / People / Start-up Culture

Franchisee sees expansion opportunities in Medicine Hat’s commercial centres

April 10, 2018

After a month of operations in Medicine Hat the Chopped Leaf is looking to add a second location.

The 1,700 square foot fast casual restaurant opened in Northpointe Crossing in March, hoping to capitalize on neighbourhoods that are seeing an influx of development and attention.

“This shopping centre is next to the leisure centre, Canalta Centre, accommodation and hockey area,” says Michael Ferre, franchise partner of Chopped Leaf. “It’s the perfect location – right in the centre of development.”

Indeed, Northpointe Crossing is surrounded by two neighbourhoods with approximately 14,000 people, and counting. The nearby Ranchlands neighbourhood is under development while the established Crescent Heights and Riverside neighbourhoods are undergoing revitalization.

The Medicine Hat Family Leisure Centre, which completed a $37.4 million renovation in 2016, is within walking distance to the shopping centre and receives about 160,000 visitors per year. The 7,100 seat Canalta Centre, which is home to the Western Hockey League’s Medicine Hat Tigers, is a short five minute drive away.

With all that activity, it’s no surprise that only two commercial bays are available in the 7.2 acre development, which is anchored by Shoppers Drug Mart and ATB Financial. Adjacent to Northpointe Crossing is South Country Coop’s newly renovated grocery store.

Ferre opened with seven employees and was busier than anticipated. Now, 10 staff prep made-to-order fresh sandwiches, soups, paninis and wraps for customers looking for quick, fresh options.

Buoyed by the early success of the Northpointe location, Ferre is planning to open a second Chopped Leaf location in the Southlands commercial node in 2019. This retail hub is undergoing a multi-million dollar development, which includes a 17 acre development by  Canalta and South Country Co-op. An extended stay hotel, gas bar and restaurants are in the works for the greenfield site on Strachan Road.

“There are major development projects underway in all of Medicine Hat’s major commercial centres,” says Ryan Jackson, CEO of Invest Medicine Hat. “It’s a great time for new and expanding businesses to take advantage of prime retail space.”

The Chopped Leaf franchise is in the midst of a cross-Canada expansion. With opportunities across Canada, Ferre took the opportunity to introduce Medicine Hat to fast casual dining, a restaurant experience that combines casual dining with the speed of fast food.

“Fast casual restaurants are taking off,” says Ferre. “I grew up in Medicine Hat and knew a restaurant like this would be well received.”

Ferre and the staff are celebrating Chopped Leaf’s grand opening at Northpointe Crossing on April 18 with a ribbon cutting.