Many Giant Tiger stores rolled out the welcome mat Saturday for their 50th anniversary celebrations.

The original store in the Byward Market spilled out into the parking lot with buskers, a live band and a cake display that took up an entire table.

It's a show of thanks to the community that CEO Andy Gross said is vital to the local store's national success.

"We've got owners in the stores and they become part of their community," he said. "They get to know their community and their customers . . . better than the majority of other retailers of our competition."

Customers said they appreciated the variety of goods the stores carry, while still keeping the size of the stores down.

"It's just more convenient for us on the way home from work," said one.

"The staff here are really helpful and friendly," said another. "I don't feel like I have to rush."

The first Giant Tiger opened in 1961 at 98 George Street, and has expanded to over 200 stores across the country. There are plans to add 12 more this year.

"We've got a capacity to grow," Gross said. "We think across Canada there's a lot of opportunities to keep growing."

With a report from CTV Ottawa's Katie Griffin