Online Guide for Newcomers to Prince Edward Island - Canada
Stores and Shopping Hours
Types of Stores
There are many different places where you can buy things in PEI. The most common are:
Department stores sell a wide variety of things like clothing, furniture, appliances, electronics, toiletries, toys, sporting goods, durable food items, etc. The products are grouped by type in store sections (departments). Department stores commonly have central customer checkout areas, generally in the front area of the store, and are usually part of a large retail chain.
- Discount stores sell items at lower than regular prices. Sometimes they are large high-volume low-profit chain retailers, sometimes outlets that sell goods which regular stores could not sell for a long time, and sometimes they carry products with slight defects.
- So called 'dollar stores' are retailers that carry only a variety of inexpensive items. They sometimes have a fixed price for all items in the store.
- A 'second-hand shop' sells items that are not new. These shops are often operated by charities for the purpose of fundrasing - people donate things they no longer need, and the store sells them to collect money for the charity.
Shopping malls are large buildings with a variety of individual stores located inside.
Specialty stores sell a certain group of products, like a music store or gardening supplies store, or a certain product line. In PEI there are specialty stores selling furniture, electronics, shoes, clothing, tobacco products, alcoholic beverages, office supplies, pets and pet supplies, flowers, books, just to mention a few.
Drug stores are common specialty stores. Their main department is usually a pharmacy, but they also sell cosmetics, toiletries, cleaning supplies, some food products, magazines, etc.
Grocery stores or supermarkets, besides offering a variety of foods like fruit, vegetables, meat, dairy products, bakery items and processed food, usually also sell toiletries, cleaning supplies and other household goods. Some grocery stores have additional departments with goods or services, such as a clothing department, a post office or a pharmacy.
Farmers' markets in PEI sell locally grown fruit, vegetables, herbs, flowers, meat and fish, also eggs, cheese and other food products. At these markets one can often find local artisans selling their goods, as well as food vendors selling cooked food. Farmers' markets are usually only open on Saturdays. In summer months there are more farmers' markets and some operate on additional days of the week.
Convenience stores are small stores selling a limited variety of food items, household goods, newspapers, lottery tickets, tobacco products, etc. They are usually located in or close to your neighbourhood and open longer hours for your convenience. However, these stores often charge higher prices than larger stores.
Buying Used Items
Besides second-hand shops, used items can be bought at some regular stores (for example, video games), or at flea markets and private sales. You can usually barter prices at flea markets or private sales, and they are great for finding collectables or old items that are no longer being produced and can not be found in stores.
Flea markets, usually held on Sundays, are places where people come to buy, sell or trade previously used items. For a small fee anybody can set up a sales booth. Some vendors sell new items too.
Garage or yard sales are held in people's garages or yards, usually on Saturday mornings. They are sometimes advertised in newspapers, or on posters displayed on nearby streets. Private sales and purchases can also be made through newspaper classified ads or through free on-line classified advertising.
Shopping Hours and Days
In PEI business hours often change. If it is not a place you visit frequently, it is a good idea to call ahead to make sure that the business is open before you go there.
In PEI working hours vary from store to store. Most stores open around 8 or 9am and close at 5 or 6pm. Larger stores or grocery stores mostly close at 9 or 10pm.
Most stores are open Monday to Saturday. Stores like convenience stores, drug stores, video stores, and some bakeries are open seven days a week. Some stores are open on Sundays, usually from 12:00 noon to 6pm.
Most stores are not open on the following holidays:
- New Year's Day (January 1)
- Islander Day (third Monday of February)
- Good Friday (different date every year)
- Easter Sunday (different date every year)
- Victoria Day (Monday on or before May 24)
- Canada Day (July 1)
- Labour Day (first Monday in September)
- Thanksgiving Day (second Monday in October)
- Christmas Day (December 25)
- Boxing Day (December 26)