As it gets closer to making its American debut, Canada-based T&T Supermarkets has hired a U.S. retail estate expert to help the company with its expansion efforts. Chris Pine has joined the Asian grocer as head of real estate on the U.S. leadership team. With 33 stores across Canada, T&T Supermarkets revealed earlier this year that it would open its first U.S. store, in Bellevue, Wash., in 2024.
Chris Pine, formerly EVP of anchors and big-box leasing at Brookfield Properties, brings to his new role a wealth of experience in the retail industry and a deep understanding of the U.S. real estate market. His experience includes a tenure as VP of real estate and development for Whole Foods Market, where his team was responsible for completing 25-30 stores per year throughout North America and England.
“We are so thrilled to have Chris join our team,” said Tina Lee, CEO of T&T Supermarkets. “We’re new to the country, so we understand the importance of bringing in knowledge and expertise from professionals, and we can’t think of anyone better suited for this role than Chris. His deep knowledge of the industry and track record of success makes him the perfect choice to guide us through this exciting journey.”
“It’s an honor to join such a passionate and dedicated team,” said Pine. “T&T has a captivating concept that deeply resonates with people who love food. The stores have great energy, [and] the customers have so much fun exploring and discovering new foods – it’s an unparalleled and uplifting environment. I know they’ll go far in the U.S., and I’m excited to contribute my experience and knowledge to further their mission.”
T&T’s first store in the United States will open at the Marketplace at Factoria in Bellevue. At 76,000 square feet, it will be the largest Asian supermarket in Washington state, creating more than 300 jobs.
The grocer will also establish a regional office in the greater Los Angeles area and is immediately hiring for such office positions as buyers and category managers.
Meanwhile, back in Canada, T&T Supermarkets recently revealed plans for a second downtown Toronto location. Steps away from local landmarks such as Yonge and Dundas Square, the Eaton Centre and Toronto Metropolitan University, the new 31,000-square-foot store is scheduled to open in spring 2025. It will be located in the Panda Condos, a project by Lifetime Development. Torontonians may know this location as the former World’s Biggest Bookstore.