The thematic thread connecting the opening of a new grocery store in Saskatoon and the iconic dress worn by Marilyn Monroe when she memorably serenaded U.S. President John F. Kennedy at a party in 1962 is...tenuous at best.

But Darrell Jones, the president of Save-On-Foods, gave it his best shot Thursday when he explained why that glamorous garment will be the first thing customers see Friday as they walk into the company's first grocery store in Saskatoon, in the city's Kensington neighbourhood.

Darrell Jones Save-On-Foods president

"We think it’s kinda cool," said Save-On-Foods President Darrell Jones of the dress display. (Chanss Lagaden/CBC News)

"She used it as a celebration to sing Happy Birthday to the president, and we're using it as a celebration to celebrate the opening of our new store and to celebrate the fact that every celebration has got great food," he said.

There's also a more practical explanation.

B.C. billionaire Jim Pattison — the Save-On-Foods owner most recently known for making a $50-million donation to the Children's Hospital of Saskatchewan — is also the owner of Ripley's Entertainment.

That company purchased the dress for approximately $6.1 million Cdn at a Los Angeles auction last year and is touring it in several Canadian communities.

Its first stop came on Monday in Luseland, Sask., Pattison's hometown, where 2,000 visitors to the town of 623 people "were blown away," said Jones, adding that Pattison "wanted to bring some excitement back to his home province."

On Friday, the dress will be on display starting at 7 a.m. CST at the new Saskatoon Save-On-Foods at 126 Kensington Boulevard before making the following additional stops:

  • July 16 – Regina Save-On-Foods (4520 Albert St. South)

  • July 18 – Yorkton Save-On-Foods (277 Broadway St. East)

  • July 21 – Winnipeg (Northgate) Save-On-Foods (1399 McPhillips St.)

  • July 22 – Winnipeg (Bridgwater) Save-On-Foods (400 North Town Rd)

  • July 23 – Winnipeg (St. James) Save-On-Foods (850 St. James St.)

Marilyn Monroe dress on display at Saskatoon Save-On-Foods

Jones at the display near the entrance to the store. (Chanss Lagaden/CBC News)

"We think it's kinda cool, and it helps us celebrate  the great people that we have here in the province of Saskatchewan," said Jones.

As for the grocery store chain's future plans for Saskatoon, Jones said a second store will open early next year on Cumberland Avenue, with another three locations eyed for openings in the next two years.

with files from Chanss Lagaden