Blog

Shinola: America’s coolest brand opens its first Canadian location

July 12, 2016

After much anticipation, Think Retail is thrilled to announce that Shinola’s Queen West store in Toronto opened on the weekend. 
 The 2,300 sq. ft. space is ideally situated at 1000 Queen St. W., at the corner of Ossington Avenue, in the heart of the vibrant Queen West scene. The space lives up to expectations, making the most of the building’s high ceilings to create a vibrant retail experience that surprises and delights, from a chandelier-like bike display to beautifully merchandized pockets, ideal for browsing and buying. 
We are proud to have worked with such a unique and dynamic company on its high-profile Canadian market entry.  
Founded in 2011, Detroit-based Shinola designs and manufactures a range of luxury products that are a hit among celebrities and trendsetters. It is most famous for its watches, but it has evolved into a true lifestyle brand with an offering that ranges from belts to bicycles, pocketknives, clothing, leather accessories, headphones and more.

We quickly determined it was fitting that one of retail’s coolest brands set up shop in what Vogue magazine considers one of the World’s Coolest Neighbourhoods. 
What they’ve done with the new space on Queen West is nothing short of inspiring and no doubt Shinola will live up to its reputation for creating stores that go above and beyond the retail experience to offer a destination space for its community of customers.
 In addition to this new store, Shinola has nine stand-alone flagships in the U.S. and one in London. 
 At Think Retail, we thrive on partnering with high-end retail brands to navigate their Canadian market entry and we are excited to welcome Shinola to Canada. For more, visit the Shinola website or contact the Think Retail Team. 

Lolë pops up in Ottawa’s CF Rideau Centre

June 29, 2016

Lolë is focusing on its innovative plans to open several pop-up shops in 2016 and we are thrilled to announce a new location—at Rideau Centre in Ottawa.
The 1,041 sq. ft. store is to open in August on Level 2, part of the centre’s fresh expansion area adjacent to Steve Madden, Massimo Dutti, Anthropologie, H&M and Zara.
This is an exciting move for Lolë, which earlier this year unveiled plans to open a series of pop-up shops, a strategic move designed to elevate brand awareness and test markets where the company is interested, but not yet ready to make a long-term commitment.
In April, Lolë unveiled its first two pop-up locations—Uptown in Victoria and Orchard Park Shopping Centre in Kelowna, B.C. Uptown is a sophisticated open-air shopping centre in the heart of Greater Victoria. The mall is home to a wonderful array of tenants, providing a luxurious mix of fashion, food and more. Orchard Park is Kelowna's premier mall with more than 170 retailers and services.
Rideau Centre is another ideal venue for Lolë’s unique pop-up approach. Located in the heart of downtown Ottawa, the mall is in the final stages of a major overhaul and expansion, which will add 230,000 sq. ft. of leasable area over four-levels. Lolë will be right at home amongst the array of top-tier retailers, including Simons, slated to open with the expansion this August.
Another Lolë pop-up is pending—stay tuned for details.
In the meantime, the company is interested in opening more pop-up locations, with a strong focus on Toronto, Ottawa (Westboro), London, Winnipeg and Vancouver. The scope is national, with the exception of the Province of Quebec. Well-positioned high street spaces of 1,250 to 1,500 sq. ft. are preferred, however Lolë will also consider select super regional malls.
This company is a true Canadian success story that continues to go from strength to strength in terms of brand awareness and growth. Conceived in Montreal’s Longueuil area in 2002, Lolë is now part of Quebec-based Coalision Inc., which boasts an impressive team with offices around the globe.
The company has built a loyal following for its bold and beautiful activewear clothing for women and has evolved into a true lifestyle brand, epitomized with its much-anticipated White Tour, which takes things to a whole new level this year with a series of community-powered local yoga sessions.
The 2016 Tour launched on June 21 (International Yoga Day) with sessions bringing together more than 5,000 yogis (donning white to signify peace) in 60 cities in Canada, the U.S. and Europe. Each session was led by a Lolë ambassador and featured live musical performances.
The phenomenon continues, with the Lolë White Tour hosting an event on Canada Day—July 1—at McArthurGlen Designer Outlet Vancouver Airport. In addition, the tour will touch down in other major Canadian cities, including Toronto’s Exhibition Place (July 28) and Montreal’s Old Port (August 18).
Click here to find out more about the White Tour. To discuss this groundbreaking Canadian brand and its pop-up plans, contact the Think Retail Team.

Farrow & Ball seeks new site for Toronto showroom

June 13, 2016

Think Retail is delighted to partner with JLL Real Estate to assist with Farrow & Ball’s Toronto real estate requirements.
It’s always a pleasure to work on a brand that inspires such devotion. Farrow & Ball is lauded the world over for its edited palette of 132 paints and hand-crafted artisanal wallpapers.
The offering is one of visual delight, but also Farrow & Ball stands apart in terms of quality. 
Founded in 1946 by John Farrow & Richard Ball in England, the company makes its own crafted paint and paper at its factory in Wimborne, Dorset. Its production is never outsourced, which means the company can maintain the highest of standards (in 2010 Farrow & Ball made the bold decision to move its entire range of paints away from oil based to water based finishes with low or minimal VOC content). Its success is reflected in group sales figures that have close to tripled in the last decade to more than $90 million a year. 
Farrow & Ball has an exclusive collection of showrooms around the globe—28 in the UK, 11 in Europe, 11 in the US, and one here in Canada.
The space at 1054 Yonge—between Bloor and St. Clair—is a design mecca, where people go for inspiration and to peruse the entire collection of richly pigmented paint colours (while reveling in their quirky names) and wallpaper designs. This is not a store; it’s a place that inspires loyalty and passion among those who love this brand for its unique depth of colour, exacting quality and authentic craftsmanship. On site, customers can experiment with colour, texture and finish, while availing of the expertise of the showroom team. 
Nestled amongst the opulent residences of Summerhill and Rosedale, Farrow & Ball is well-positioned to attract a consumer demographic that spans affluent urban professionals, young cosmopolitans, and design-savvy individuals who are passionate about their homes and willing to invest in premium products.
Farrow & Ball opened the Toronto showroom in 1999—its first overseas location—and now seeks to relocate and potentially open a second store in the market. 
The areas of interest encompass Rosedale (in the same area as the current store), as well as new opportunities in both the King Street East and Castlefield Design District. The optimal size is 1,000 to 1,500 sq. ft.
For more about this pioneering company, and the Farrow & Ball real estate needs, visit www.farrow-ball.com or contact the Think Retail Team. 

Adore Cosmetics to open 10 to 15 stores in Canada

June 10, 2016

Think Retail is thrilled to partner with UHI Cosmetics as it dials up Canadian expansion for the celebrated Adore Cosmetics brand. 
We love working with companies that build beautiful stores and Adore does that and more with a luxurious retail experience enhanced with product demonstration stations that invite consumers to explore and fall in love with this popular line that encompasses beauty, anti-aging and organic skincare. 
Launched in 2001, Adore Cosmetics is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of luxury innovative skincare products. Based in Miami Beach, Florida, the company is the complete package, led by a team that sees value in researching, manufacturing, wholesaling and creating a retail experience designed to highlight the creative technology and high-end ingredients that work together for its unique formulations.
Today, Adore has more than 50 boutiques around the globe. The company has expanded and continues to expand throughout the U.S., as well as Mexico, U.S. Virgin Island, Caribbean, the UK, Spain, Italy, Germany, Austria, Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Singapore, Hong Kong, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand.
Adore already has a strong Canadian footprint with five stores—Fairview Pointe Claire (Quebec); Tanger Cookstown, and Pickering Town Centre (Ontario); Southland Mall (Saskatchewan); and downtown Vancouver.  
The company has just announced three (3) exciting new store openings:

- Rideau Centre (mid August) 
- Oshawa Centre (October)
- Tsawwassen Mills (October)

Adore is planning to open at least 10 to 15 more boutiques in Canada, with a primary focus in super regional malls in British Columbia, Alberta and Ontario. Size required is on 600 to 1,200 sq. ft.
Adore is a landlord’s dream tenant. Its stores around the world showcase a vast line of more than 60 products, driving repeat foot-traffic that delivers one of the highest industry averages of sales per square foot.
And that’s in an already booming industry. Analysts estimate the global beauty industry—consisting of skin care worth $24 billion; makeup, $18 billion; $38 billion of hair-care products; and $15 billion of perfumes—is growing at up to 7% a year, more than twice the rate of the developed world’s GDP!
The industry is broken down into six main categories; skincare being the largest, which accounts for more than 35% of the global market and growing. 
Adore is ideally positioned to capitalize on the market interest: The UHI Team has developed a concept that combines the best in anti-aging skin care with an impactful product demonstration presentation and luxurious retail experience that is already making waves. 
The buzz is strong and Adore’s popular Organic Innovation line—based on organic extracts combined with age-defying Plant Stem Cell Technology—is celebrated in the pages of major fashion, beauty and lifestyle magazine, from Cosmo to Elle.
It’s such an exciting time for the Adore brand and we are delighted to work with UHI as it realizes its growth plans in Canada. For more about this innovative company, visit www.adorecosmeticsinsights.com or contact the Think Retail Team.

Le Creuset debuts in Vancouver with its largest store in Canada

June 06, 2016

Today, the iconic Le Creuset brand adds a pop of colour to retail scene in British Columbia, with the exciting opening of its first store in the province and largest in the country.
The 2,000 sq. ft. store at 2997 South Granville is the colourful cookware company’s second high street location in Canada.
This fresh modern retail space is ideally positioned in Vancouver’s bustling uptown, upscale neighhourhood, which is home to a vibrant collection of retailers, restaurants, galleries and residences.
Le Creuset is in good company, with neighbouring tenants that include, William Sonoma, West Elm, Pottery Barn Kids. The brand has great synergy with fellow tenants and this much-anticipated opening finally gives West Coast shoppers a taste of its classic on-trend wares.
Le Creuset—founded in Northern France in 1925—is a hit with Canadian consumers, who celebrate its signature combination of quality, functionality and colorful aesthetics. In Canada, Le Creuset is the No. 1 bridal registry brand and it’s consistently the No. 1 or No. 2 cookware supplier to all the company’s trading partners.
In turn, Le Creuset has been on fire of late. In 2015, they more than doubled their footprint in Canada, celebrated several market entries, including a new 1,100 sq. ft. modern masterpiece at Southgate Centre in Edmonton; unveiled their first high-street location at 577 Sussex Drive in Ottawa; opened at 1,050 sq. ft. space in the tony Bayview Village in Toronto; and relocated to a larger 800 sq. ft. store at Place Ste. Foy in Quebec City.
Le Creuset now has nine stores in Canada and it turning up the heat on expansion, with plans to further target select markets, including Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal—ideal spaces are 750 to 1,250 sq. ft. One area of particular interest is downtown Montreal, where Le Creuset would like to open a flagship high street store. In addition to major street locations, the company is also keen on super regional malls.
Stay tuned in the coming weeks for details on another exciting opening.

At Think Retail we are thrilled to work with this innovative brand as it lays the foundation for another marquee year and build its presence in top-tier locations across the country.
For more about Le Creuset and its plans for expansion, please visit www.Lecreuset.ca or contact the Think Retail Team.

China's HNA buys currency exchange firm ICE

May 20, 2016

Chinese conglomerate HNA Group has acquired International Currency Exchange (ICE)—one of the most established and respected retail currency exchange brands in the world.
This is a major transaction, involving one of Think Retail’s longstanding clients and we are excited about what this means for ICE in Canada. 
HNA is a Global Fortune 500 company and this acquisition is part of a strategic effort to expand outside of Asia. It brings with it major growth potential for the ICE brand.
At Think Retail, we have worked with ICE since 2008, plotting its expansion coast to coast and we will be sharing soon details on the next phase of its growth.
Founded in the UK in 1973, ICE is one of the world's largest currency exchange retailers, with more than 350 locations in 19 countries.
The company has solid roots in Canada that go back more than a quarter century. ICE boasts a number of strong strategic partnerships and in 2012 was named the exclusive foreign exchange partner of the Association of Canadian Travel Agencies (ACTA).
Founded in 1993, privately-owned HNA has evolved from a local aviation transportation operator to a conglomerate with several core divisions, including aviation, real estate, capital, tourism, hospitality, technology and logistics. ICE will become part of HNA Tourism, which specializes in air travel, hospitality management, tourism, finance, investment and e-commerce.
The acquisition "adds wings to our global coverage of financial services for overseas tourism, and will provide important support to the acceleration of the pace of our internationalization," HNA Tourism said in a statement.
With its huge international presence, ICE was the ideal acquisition for HNA. In Canada, ICE already has more than 50 locations coast to coast, in shopping centres, retail hubs and most major airports, including Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Montreal, Ottawa, Victoria and Quebec City.
Under the leadership of co-founder and chairman Chen Feng, HNA has grown into a conglomerate with nearly $100 billion in assets.
At Think Retail, we are excited to see where HNA takes the ICE brand. We look forward to working with the company as it capitalizes on this marquee acquisition. For more, visit www.ice-canada.ca, www.hnagroup.com or contact the Think Retail Team.