NO Frills to Vacate Cornwall Square on August 16th – Downtown Core Continues to Die by Jamie Gilcig

cornwall squareCORNWALL Ontario – The No Frills grocery store in Cornwall Square is officially closing August 16th.

It leaked onto social media and was confirmed via one of the store Managers to CFN this afternoon.

No Frills Grocery is one of the anchor tenants of the Mall.   Sears is the other and there have been troubles for the retailer over the last few years.   The mall, which has a very odd marketing plan that seems to be focused on saving wear and tear on the walkways of the mall has not responded as of press time.


Many of the staff and consumers were wary of the parking garage after some of the damage was exposed this past Winter.  Currently there has been some repair work in effect.  Staff are instructed to only park in the parking garage which has distressed quite a few that complained to CFN.

It should be interesting to see if the Mall has a replacement tenant as there clearly is a need for a downtown food store; especially for fresh fruits and vegetable.

The No Frills at the Square is a corporate store as the franchise owned branch is now in new premises at the East Court Mall.   The current location has been plagued by leaks and other issues as well as very high per square foot rental fees.

The loss would mark the continued slide of the downtown business core which has just lost another big store on Pitt Street right across from the back of the Mall, as well as rumbles that two more stores are leaving 2nd Street and Pitt.

Kinda makes you wonder one why we bother to have a DBIA when they seem to be invisible…or why the Cornwall & Area Chamber of Commerce seems to spend more energy harassing certain media outlets than in building up businesses in our city?

The loss would mark the continued slide of the downtown business core which has just lost another big store on Pitt Street right across from the back of the Mall as well as rumbles that two more stores are leaving 2nd Street and Pitt.

What do you think CFN viewers?  Will you miss shopping for groceries at the Square?   You can post your comments below.



  1. Ive heard about the high rents there, and I believe they want a percentage of profits per month also. The more you make, the more they want. Im surprised so many stores have remained so far. Parking is an issue there, so I wont be missing it.

  2. Mike M….. a percentage of profits is usually part of the rental agreement in malls, nothing new there.

    They can do with the No Frills location what they did with the old Zellers location, subdivide it and make a few stores. Or perhaps open a community room. Some malls in other cities have rooms that community groups can use or people can use for celebrations. Cornwall is too small for two No Frills. It’s been obvious since the new location opened that No Frills focus has been on the new location.

  3. It would be nice to see the square torn down and the pitt street promenade expanded… more open space/marketplace like they have here in downtown kingston.

  4. i have not been to the square since the disintegration of the parking garage became obvious. a little wary of walking in the mall, unsure who the suppliers of the concrete were there too, don’t want concrete around my ears, so i stay away from the accident looking to happen. i knew it was only a matter of time before the major tenants moved out

  5. No Frills downtown store had been well patronize for many years . . . . there is an extensive residential neighbourhood within easy walking distance of Cornwall Square.

    Sears has been facing increased competition in their major urban markets . . . following Cornwall’s economic downturn of several years ago, is Sears the right store in the right place at Cornwall Square? How would a Giant Tiger store function at that location?

    Rideau Centre in downtown Ottawa underwent a very major renovation a few years ago . . . perhaps Cornwall Square may also need to undergo a very major renovation. There is definitely a need for a supermarket in or near Cornwall’s downtown, especially given the number of residents who live within walking distance of that location. Many years ago, there was a supermarket on the SW corner of Augustus and 2nd Street . . . . it closed as Cornwall Square’s opening loomed.

  6. After years of neglect the square is finally getting some cosmetic maintenance. No Frills is moving out because Cornwall can’t support two No Frills stores. Since the new store opened at Eastcourt Mall it’s obvious that No Frills has been focusing on the new franchisee store and not the corporate one. The square needs a major upgrade in looks. The cosmetic changes (paint, etc.) is not enough to keep it fresh.

  7. I’m with Jason. The 1970s-style Square should be torn down along with the garage and the property be developed with this century’s citizens in mind.

  8. Author

    Hugger I think it needs more professional local management as well, and it needs to be marketed better.

  9. Sad part of all this is the older people shop at no frills to some of them it’s close by. They should open another store close by so that they do not have to travel so far. Some have no car and it’s close to there location. We need a large mall. One stop shopping like they have in Ottawa and Toronto. We call this progress?????

  10. Brookdale is now Cornwall’s new downtown. Not Pitt street. Just like Montreal rd died out years ago it use to be downtown at one point also. It’s an evolving town. The square and second and Pitt are dead. The buildings are to old now. Take a look at Brookdale progress. Because it’s the right spot for tourist. Between 401 and the US bridge straight path. Hotels food everything. It will continue to grow until it’s filled. As for the Square it will fall eventually unless they follow east court in revitalizing the place.

  11. i shopped at no filles it was close to me and i can walk there it would me nice if there did what done at the east end that is nic

  12. Curtis
    I suggest you look at one of the newer Brookdale shopping centres unfinished stores and dangerous parts of it cracking and falling apart built near main rail line

  13. Curtis . . . you’ve hit the nail on the head. Prior to the completion of Hwy 401, old Hwy 2 was the main road between Montreal and Toronto . . . . . and east-west traffic galore travelled though Cornwall, on both 2nd Street and also Water Street/Montreal Road. During that era, Pitt & 2nd bustled with activity and businesses literally did ‘a box-office business’.

    The completion of Hwy 401 affected several cities and towns across Eastern Ontario that included Cornwall, Morrisburg, Prescott, Brockville, Kingston and Belleville. The Quinte Mall at Belleville and Thousand Islands Mall at Brockville are located right next to Hwy 401.

    The opening of the new causeway across the North Channel now makes the southern end of Brookdale Ave accessible to trans-border traffic. There may be future commercial potential for the land to the west of Brookdale, between 7th Street and the river . . . the new Walmart may likely be easily accessible from Brookdale Ave.

    When Walmart opened at Cornwall and long after Cornwall Square had been established, they demolished the old Woolco building and built a new store . . . . now they’re building another new store and freeing up future retail or commercial space for some other organization(s).

    Perhaps a group of MBA students at either McGill or at U of Ottawa could evaluate future prospects for Cornwall Square

  14. You people are morons. You won’t shop at the Cornwall Square because it looks old? Get a life. It’s clean, there’s hardly any vacant stores right now and plenty of options. The reasons for all these retail changes and changes in general in recent years is because idiots like you people are always complaining that things are not modern enough or “pretty” enough. If it were up to some of you the Washington Monument or Parliament Buildings would not be worth saving because they are not modern enough. It’s this kind of attitude that is the reason the Capital Theatre and other landmarks in Cornwall weren’t saved. “Tear it down and build something new!” You people need help if you care that much about what a shopping mall looks like.

  15. I will miss the various and sundry amputees decorating the No Frills.

  16. @ John Smith. A lot of morons, including me, don’t willingly go into parking garages or other buildings that look like they could collapse at any time. Weird, eh?

  17. StopDrone/strikes…the “mall” you refer to has had many problems. Hopefully one day it will be completed.

    John Smith…perhaps the mall is clean, etc. but it is very dated. The Sears store is stuck in the 90’s. To attract customers stores / malls must continually reinvent themselves. That’s something Cornwall Square / Sears have failed to do for years.

  18. Hugger, that’s the same criticism people had about Zellers–“It looks dated.” So what? It was better than what we have there now, the umpteen hundredth grocery store in Cornwall and a dollar store that’s a lot bigger but just has more of the same products that they had before. And with Sears, if they were to renovate the store it would cost thousands of dollars which means they would have to raise their prices to pay for it. Then people would be complaining that the prices were too high. I mean, really, you shop at a store for the products, not for the pretty wallpaper or floor tiles. The only store people in Cornwall seem to have no problem shopping at is Wal-Mart, which is an ugly store with a disgusting clientele. The only reason people like it is because the prices are so cheap but that’s because the quality is also cheap. Not to mention that everything there is probably made in a sweatshop. I’ll take Sears over Wal-Mart any day.

  19. Author

    John most of the “Beautiful People” in Cornwall actually shop in Vaudreuil Dorion, Ottawa, Brockville, Kingston, Montreal; just about anywhere but Cornwall…

  20. Totally agree with John Smith. If you always shop out of town your people here in town will lose jobs. I’m not saying you can’t but by saying “everyone shops out of town” is untrue and hurts the city. We are starting to get newer stores and that is great. The losers stores should be re-invented like they do in Kingston. You don’t tear everything downs, you recycle it. That’s what smart business do. And new word on the street is that Great Wolf Lodge is looking to build in Cornwall . They appreciate or great location. Now every time you bash on our great city you hurt our city. Travel to other places, then you will see how lucky we all are to live here! Ugly attitude equals an ugly life!

  21. And we’ve seen were being dated has gotten Zellers. I’d say what is at the old Zellers site is far better than the previous store.

    If Sears had a plan instead of doing things haphazard they wouldn’t have to raise prices to cover renos or updates.

    Walmart is your basic big-box store, nothing fancy about it.

  22. Beautiful people come to Brockville to shop? Now, that’s funny! Is the Walmart in Brockville superior to the Cornwall Walmart?

  23. Author

    don’t know if it’s superior Furtz, but it certainly is bigger…

  24. I’m not a Walmart or a Brockville shopper, so I really don’t know. You saying that size matters?

  25. I heard the rent is to high at the Cornwall Square. They will have to lower it to keep the businesses there but they don’t care. But to have No Frills close is terrible. I love the one in the east end of town because I live in that area but it is so small compared to the the other. There will be less choice or product available because the lack of space. This will the Square unless you get some store like Old Navy there if they can afford the rent.

  26. I shop at No Frills because it’s close to walk to. I don’t have a car, so it will be harder for me as well as for senor citizens without cars.

  27. The maintenance being done is a safety issue. We only have to look at the disaster in Elliot Lake, ontario to see what can happen if structural issues are not the first priority.

  28. Author

    When it comes to shopping variety does count at some level, yes.

  29. Sad to lose the No Frills at Cornwall Square, but not surprising. Look at the number of large shopping centres that do not have grocery stores.

  30. With No Frills leaving the Cornwall Square has an opportunity to reinvent and market itself properly. Will they do it?

  31. I deal with all the stores in town. There was talk about closing no frills as their lease was going to expire. There is also talk about them building a new one. There are currently to many grocery stores atm. No store Can currently Grow their sales do to the opening of multiple stores, so now they are just sharing the volume.

  32. Part of the problem in Cornwall is an over saturation of grocery stores. Up until last fall I would say the amount was correct. Then two new stores were added. By closing the Cornwall Square No Frills hopefully things will start to balance out.

  33. I am very sorry to hear the No Frills is closing. I don’t have a car and find it very convenient to be able to walk to the mall even if it’s a few blocks from my home. There are a lot of people who will be in the same situation as I am. It is not easy trying to remain independent without a car and stay within budget!

  34. So the Square is looking at downsizing the grocery store and adding two other stores. While I realize that the grocery store serves customers in the immediate area and /or with no transportation I feel putting another grocery store in there is a mistake. No Frills is pulling out for a reason. I feel Cornwall is over-serviced in the grocery store field. We added two stores last fall into an already over-serviced area. We need to cut back, not add or maintain the current level of stores.

  35. I was at Sears today. It’s still outdated and now has employee attitude problems. Two examples….I was in the shoe department looking to replace my slip-on shoes. There was a staff member there BUT she was talking to a friend and did not offer me any help. She lost a sale because she was too busy with her friend making plans for after work. Second example….I needed an orthopedic pillow and found it. I took it to a cash desk and she told me she couldn’t do the sale as SHE only did appliances. So, I trot off to another cash desk to be greeted by “Are you buying that?” Keeping my smart-ass quiet (he wanted to say “no I was going to see if this came in a different colour.”) The continual stupid questions / comments continued from this clerk. And people wonder why I don’t like Sears Cornwall. Besides having a very outdated store they have major employee attitude problems.

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