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In 1961, the first tiny Fortinos store opened in the heart of Hamilton with a commitment to giving its customers fresh, quality foods, competitive prices and unsurpassed customer service. Today, the “Supermarket with a Heart” has grown successfully to serve a variety of communities stretching from Stoney Creek to Vaughan. With a team of community-based Franchise Owners committed to the customer, Fortinos is leading the way as it continues to introduce innovative products and services aimed at enhancing the shopping experience. But let’s go back to the beginning for a moment to better understand the Fortinos of today and tomorrow.

Immigrant steelworker John Fortino had big dreams when, together with his sisters, he opened his first tiny shop in Hamilton. But it would be 11 years before these dreams would begin to be realized. In 1972, John took on seven partners and opened a second store on Hamilton Mountain. The new store was an immediate success. Customers loved the Fortinos difference! A year later, John and his partners opened their biggest store yet on the West Mountain in Hamilton. In 1975, the Fortinos name went up on another full-size supermarket in Stoney Creek. With a growing reputation for quality and great service, Fortinos blossomed throughout the ‘80s, expanding to Burlington and Brampton and opening its first corporate headquarters and warehouse complex. In 1988, Fortinos became part of the Loblaws Companies family and immediately began a major expansion, adding three new stores in the Hamilton market. Fortinos was now THE place to shop in the city where it all began. In 1990, the company moved to its current corporate head office on Glover Road in Hamilton and consolidated its warehousing and distribution activities under one roof.

Changing Customer Expectations

As the 1990s dawned, Fortinos looked to the Greater Toronto area, opening stores in Brampton, North York, Etobicoke, Woodbridge and Markham. The new decade also demanded a look at changing customer expectations, with an eye to delivering one-stop convenience never before seen in a supermarket. It all began at Fortinos’ Dundurn location in Hamilton, where a major renovation introduced some revolutionary new supermarket concepts.

The next generation of one-stop convenience was introduced in Burlington in 1996 with the opening of the “Fortinos Adventure” store concept, which became the standard for Fortinos’ continuing growth. The Adventure concept is designed to enhance convenience, but more importantly, it is intended to create a shopping experience that is fun for the consumer. Starting with a European streetscape that meanders through small shops at the front of the store, customers then enter a large open-market-style fresh produce and deli area. Throughout the years, Fortinos has maintained its tradition of offering only fresh hanging beef and fresh meats. The Butcher Block takes the service to a higher level, putting the customer in touch with the butcher to order special cuts. Fortinos’ fresh seafood selection is the largest you’ll find in any Ontario supermarket.