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A convenience store (sometimes called a variety store or corner store) is a small retail business that sells everyday items including snack foods, dry and canned goods, milk and cream, lottery tickets, tobacco products, newspapers and magazines. Convenience stores are often located in highly-travelled, accessible and visible areas, such as near gas stations, and they are usually open late.
This guide focuses on operating an independent store. For more information about buying a franchise, visit The Canadian Franchise Association website or call them at 1-800-665-4232.
Some common licences, permits and regulations that may apply to starting your convenience store include:
If you plan on selling lottery products on behalf of the Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corporation (OLG), or selling break open tickets, you must be registered with the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario (AGCO).
In addition to general information, you can find information on specific registrations, reporting, remitting and record-keeping requirements for Ontario's tobacco tax.
Contact the Ministry of Revenue:
For more information that relates to starting your business, you can read the following guides:
Additional resources include:
Statistics: Retail Sales (Statistics Canada)
Websites of Interest
- Ontario Convenience Stores Association (OCSA)
- Canadian Federation of Independent Grocers
- Food Recalls and Allergy Alerts
The Retail Council of Canada (RCC)
The RCC is a not-for-profit, industry-funded association representing more than 43,000 store fronts of all retail formats across Canada, including online merchants. They provide resources for training, host events, and act as an advocacy group on behalf on Canadian retail merchants.
Contact the RCC:
Retail Council of Canada