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France’s Columbus Cafe Announce 4 New Locations

May 03, 2022

France’s Columbus Cafe Announce 4 New Locations

France’s favorite coffee shop—Columbus Café & Co—is building its presence in Montreal, with the announcement of four exciting new locations. 
Founded in France in 1994, the engaging brand quickly gained became a favorite due to its premium coffee products, intriguing menu and a modern, inviting ambiance that makes it the perfect destination to linger over coffee with friends, meet for a lunch or stop in to grab a coffee and a bite to eat while on the go. 
Locals and visitors loved the bright and well-designed concept, spurring Columbus Café & Co to expand internationally. In 2001, a café opened in Brussels and by 2007 Columbus Café & Co began franchising, while at the same time welcoming Nicolas Riché as CEO. 
Close to 30 years after its inception, there are more than 200 locations across France and internationally, with the first North American café debuting on Mont-Royal Avenue in Montreal in 2020, followed by a beautiful site on Park Avenue. 
Just last week, Columbus Café & Co opened a 910-sq.-ft. café at Carrefour Laval, just in front of Simons.
And, the expansion continues, as the concept—voted the best coffee-shop chain in France by Allegra Coffee Symposium—fills the void left by the closure of several Starbucks locations around Montreal. A new café is under construction at 262 St. Catherine W (in the former Starbucks adjacent Place des Arts) and the team has just finalized a deal to open a 1,883-sq-ft. café at 2153 St. Catherine W. Plus, the company is announcing plans to open its first drive-thru café in Quebec, a 2,088-sq.-ft. location at 269 Rue Sicard, Sainte-Thérèse.
It’s an exciting time for this marque global brand as it makes it mark in North America. The Think Retail team is proud to work with this forward-thinking company that epitomizes quality on every level, from its delicious coffee to gourmet menu and fabulous branding. 
The logo—a big-hearted, but sophisticated bear—anchors the concept, which is full of personality, making it a perfect addition to neighborhoods seeking a high-end coffee shop that doesn’t feel like a cookie cutter chain. Columbus Café & Co is the ideal place to enjoy hot and cold drinks, sandwiches, salads and Buddha bowls, plus an array of quality baked goods and sweet treats.
The French café is ready to open more sites in Montreal: High-traffic street front locations are ideal, but Columbus will also consider the right fit in busy super regional malls, open-air centres and other non-conventional locations. High traffic is the key and the optimal size is 1,500 sq. ft. 
For more information about the innovative Columbus Café & Co concept, contact the Think Retail Team. 

New calisthenics gym concept ready to find its home in Montreal

April 08, 2022

New calisthenics gym concept ready to find its home in Montreal

Entrepreneur and calisthenics coach Mathieu Guevremont is bringing his visionary gym concept to Montreal, with plans to open a unique workout studio in the heart of the city. 
Calisthenics is a hot fitness regime—you need only check out what the stars and social media influencers are up to—that uses gravity and body weight leverage to improve and test one’s fitness.  There’s a myriad of benefits: Not only do gym goers work all their muscles at once and end up with fantastic results, it’s also very easy on joints and connective tissues, making it ideal for people at all fitness levels. The word calisthenics has Greek origins, coming from “Kalos” meaning beauty and “Stenos” which is strength. 
While a workout can be as simple as doing squats, push-ups, handstands and pull-ups—the foundations of a traditional phys-ed class—many of those who practice this form of strength training evolve into elite athletes who can perform incredible gravity-defying feats, such as suspending oneself horizontally like a human flag.  
The modern day version of calisthenics definitely has a cool edge that embraces elements of acrobatics, dance and gymnastics for an element of showmanship. Guevremont is a full-time coach, who has built a solid reputation and is one the biggest names in the city when it comes to the sport. “I've been sharing my passion for this sport for the past seven years, mostly in group classes all over the city and I’ve been extremely successful at it,” he says. “My goal is to empower every one with the freedom and benefits that calisthenics can provide.”
With that in mind, he is searching for the right venue to debut Gym Callisthenie MTL Inc. / Calisthenics Gym MTL Inc. The vision for the gym is to create an indoor park of sorts, with a jungle of bars, live greenery and plenty of natural light. The design, both calming and powerful, is meant to energize and inspire everyone from the lone wolf looking to build strength and wellness to those exploring workouts with serious wow-factor that incorporate yoga, break-dancing and acrobatics—all under the guidance of the best coaches in the city. 
“This will be a much-needed hub and gathering space where people will share, grow and explore with one another,” says Guevremont. “I want the clients to live there, I want to have a place where experts can facilitate workshops and we can host competitions where athletes can shine.”
The open gym concept would house Guevremont’s vast collection of modular equipment in a bright airy space, as well as have a separate room to be used as a dance or yoga studio.
Ideal spaces are 8,000 to 15,000 sq. ft. with a ceiling of 16 to 20 ft.; although the higher the better and 30 ft. would be amazing. The vision is to have a full window at street level where athletes can showcase their impressive moves to passersby, thereby generating even more interest in the gym. With that in mind, Calisthenics Gym MTL would be well situated somewhere very central with decent foot traffic or easily walkable from a subway, such as areas around Station Berri-UQAM or Station Atwater.  At Think Retail, we love seeing entrepreneurs bring their vision to life and Guevremont is ready to do just that, with a solid business plan, financial backing and the passion to succeed. To learn more about this exciting concept and its real estate requirements, contact the Think Retail team. 

SpiceBros adds flavour to Toronto food scene

March 08, 2022

SpiceBros adds flavour to Toronto food scene

SpiceBros is shaping up to be a foodie institution, famous for its unparalleled Indian cuisine with a modern twist.
The innovative concept has seven locations in Quebec and in January debuted with much fanfare in Ontario.
The new SpiceBros Toronto restaurant is located at 3353 Bloor St. W., near Bloor and Islington. This is the first is a series of locations planned for Ontario, as the bold Montreal entrepreneurs have their sights set on aggressive expansion—at least five more restaurants in the next 15 months.  
Sites are already in works for Lasalle and Brosard in Quebec, as well as Waterloo, Ont.—no doubt SpiceBros will be a popular destination in the university city, which also is home to the country’s tech giants. 
Co-founded by Atul Kapoor and Karan Bhatti, the first SpiceBros opened in Montreal in June 2018, generating serious buzz for serving up delicious authentic Indian street food in an energetic atmosphere. Its spaces are vibrant and fresh, much like the menu options, which include the “Crunchy Bro,” a crispy tandoori fried chicken sandwich, butter chicken poutine, SpiceBros potatoes and channa samosa salads.
This is a fresh fast-casual concept, with fantastic branding and loads of potential to grow across the country. It’s truly an ideal tenant that knows its audience—youthful, modern, adventurous—and has a strong vision for growth, both through corporate and franchise locations. 
The SpiceBros brand is modern in every sense, with a strong presence on social media, which makes this a destination for young foodies looking to connect with friends for an Instagram-worthy meal. 
At Think Retail, we love seeing a young vibrant brand with so much potential and we are excited to see SpiceBros add some serious flavour to the fast-casual restaurant scene in Canada. No doubt the expansion into Ontario is only the beginning. 

Aussie Optical Retailer Oscar Wylee Enters Canada

March 07, 2022

Aussie Optical Retailer Oscar Wylee Enters Canada

Australian eyewear retailer Oscar Wylee recently entered the Canadian market with multiple stores and more are planned. Retail Insider supplied questions to Oscar Wylee’s head office in Sydney. 
The retailer was founded in 2012 and has over 100 stores and over 800 team members across Australia, New Zealand and Singapore. Its first store opened in September of 2021 at West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton and Oscar Wylee opened its first Toronto store recently at CF Sherway Gardens. Other Canadian locations are in Halifax at the Halifax Shopping Centre and in Calgary at CF Chinook Centre and CF Market Mall.
Ishan Dessai, Marketing Manager at Oscar Wylee in Sydney answered a few of our questions about the Canadian expansion below: 
RI: Why did Oscar Wylee make the decision to expand into Canada with stores?  
OW: The plan for Oscar Wylee was always to grow and provide affordable eye exams and fashionable glasses to everyone. Canada was a natural next step, because just like Australia and New Zealand, it is also a multicultural country with a lot of similarities between the people and the value they place on quality eye care.
RI: Tell me about the new Toronto location, as well as the importance of the Toronto market to the brand?
OW: Our first Toronto store is in a beautiful location in CF Sherway Gardens – Etobicoke, just a 15 minute drive from the Toronto Central District making it very accessible to customers. The Toronto market is extremely important to the brand given that it is the economic hub of the country and also a city with high consumer spending. 
RI: Where will we see more Oscar Wylee stores open in Canada? What are the target cities/locations?  
OW: We currently have 5 stores across Canada with 3 in Alberta, 1 in Nova Scotia and 1 in Ontario and a potential 2nd store to come in Oshawa Centre. The plan at the moment is to establish these stores and build a foothold before expanding to the other provinces.
RI: What are global plans for the retailer’s expansion?
OW: The plan for us would be to expand and increase our presence in Australia, New Zealand and Canada with preparations for new store locations constantly underway. With comprehensive eye exams and affordable glasses, this will help make eye care accessible to a lot more people.
RI: How is Oscar Wylee looking to compete with Specsavers which recently entered Canada and is looking at opening 200 stores? How will Oscar Wylee compete with BonLook and other homegrown brands, as well as international entrants such as Warby Parker?
OW: Oscar Wylee competes with Specsavers and other similar brands in Australia and New Zealand and has managed to make a mark in the eyewear industry by providing quality glasses at affordable rates. Our ongoing price is 2 pairs from $199, including single vision prescription optical glasses, non-prescription sunglasses, or a mix of both. This along with the fact that we offer over 750 SKUs of stylish optical frames (with an option of Blue Light Filter) and sunglasses to choose from, distinguishes us from the rest. With a mix of classic, retro, bold contemporary silhouettes and a new collection released every month, there’s an Oscar Wylee frame for every face – and personality. 
RI: In terms of online competition, how will Oscar Wylee compete against similar retailers in Canada?
OW: At the moment, Oscar Wylee does not have an ecommerce option with the focus on the brick & mortar stores. Oscar Wylee’s modern optometry equipment, network of local optometrists and knowledgeable store teams will provide comprehensive eye exams, best in class service and unique products to the Canadian market.
We’ll continue to follow Oscar Wylee’s expansion into the Canadian market. Interested landlords can reach out to Tony Flanz of brokerage Think Retail which is handling and negotiating site selection for the retailer. Oscar Wylee is said to be looking at retail spaces in the 700 to 1,000 square foot range in shopping centres and on busy high streets near noteworthy fashion and general merchandise retailers. Markets targeted include British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec. 
This article was initially published on Retail Insider.

Meet Tony Flanz, president & CEO of Think Retail

February 25, 2022

Meet Tony Flanz, president & CEO of Think Retail

For Tony Flanz, real estate is in his blood. Flanz’s Dad is a general contractor, his Mom was a highly regarded real estate broker, his sister is in real estate financing and, more than 50 years ago, his Grandfather built a strip shopping centre on Montreal’s South Shore. It was there that the founder of Think Retail got his first taste of retail real estate—at the age of 18 Flanz was collecting rent and by age 20 he started leasing the family’s centre.
It’s fair to say Flanz was hooked—he recalls the joy of making connections and helping business owners realize their dreams—and he soon abandoned plans to pursue law, instead enrolling in first real estate course at just 21.
The rest is, as they say, history. Flanz cut his teeth at the Montrose Group and after a year and a half moved over to Morguard, where he was leasing director for more than six years before joining Presud, which was taken over by Olympia and York.It was here that Flanz met the esteemed Brenda Campbell, who he calls “one of the best in the leasing business” and an invaluable mentor, who taught the ‘relationship/sales guy’ about the technical/financial side of the transaction. By the mid-1990s, Flanz was ready for a change. 
“I loved real estate and leasing, but I always thought it was more attractive to lease for the tenant,” he recalls of his decision to use his experience and insights from the landlord side of the business to work with retail tenants, helping them find the ideal locations from which grow and succeed. “I wanted to do something I could feel really good about.”
Flanz signed his first client—Bizou—in 1997 and 25 years later, Flanz is proud to say that his first client is still his client. Flanz has a reputation for cultivating close client relationships and many of those clients he now calls friends. Initially, Flanz worked at SVP at one of the country’s major firms, helping build that brand for more than six years before deciding it was time to hang his own shingle. In 2005, Flanz founded Think Retail and he’s never looked back. Today, Think Retail is one of the top brokerages in the country with a stellar reputation and national leasing reach that includes regional malls, super regional malls, large open-airand outlet centres as well as, the country’s most sought-after high streets. 
“We have developed this company that people look to as a leader,” says Flanz, who reports on the Quebec market for the highly acclaimed Consumer Real Estate Canada monthly conference call. “We are respected and respectful—when we say we are going to do something, we do it. I am highly motivated to ensure my clients are successful and I have the expertise and connections to make sure they are.”Those clients include local brands that got their start in Flanz’s hometown of Montreal, such as Rock’n Deli and Foodtastic, as well some the world’s most high-profile retailers—Fossil, Carter’s Osh Kosh, Desigual, Columbus Cafe & Co, Le Creuset, Shinola, Pinkberry, Sherwin Williams, Jeff de Bruges, Change Lingerie, Oscar Wylee, Merrell and Filson to name a few. Flanz has personally guided many of these super brands on their Canadian market entry and successful expansion. “I carefully select my clients and limit the number to 15 so as to work with innovative retailers who are best-in-class and offer great synergy, not only with my own vision, but also each other,” says Flanz. “Think Retail is laser-focused on delivering the ‘big-fish’ experience to clients—here you never got lost in the crowd.”As president and CEO, Flanz has a vested interest in his clients’ business and is known for being available evenings, weekends and more—whenever and wherever his clients need him. “I am as hungry today as I was when I started this company 17 years ago. My clients know they can rely on me for the best insights, as well as hands-on, innovative and results-driven service.”

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High-end Cocoàge Addict boutiques to expand in Ontario

February 18, 2022

High-end Cocoàge Addict boutiques to expand in Ontario

Cocoàge Addict is expanding its luxury gift shopping experience in Ontario, with plans to open three boutiques in the province this year. 
The unique concept offers something truly extraordinary in the gift-giving realm— decadent gold infused chocolates and ultra-luxe preserved flower boxes.
These exquisite preserved flowers are presented in luxurious paper boxes, as well as acrylic clear square boxes, ideal for the recipient to display.  The flowers last three to five years with proper care and come in a variety of sizes, from nine to 48 flowers, ranging in price from $200 to more than $1,100. 
In addition, Cocoàge Addict compliments the high-end offering with its famous gold-infused chocolate, amazing truffles, gourmet popcorn towers and gold-infused cosmetics.
Cocoàge Addict launched in Miami, where it has built a strong foundation as a luxury shopping destination. The expansion here is being led by Ontario-based entrepreneur and visionary Chaim Baron.
In a world where so much is commoditized and same-old, Cocoàge Addict is a breath of fresh air and a unique luxury co-tenant that is sure to drive foot traffic, drawing destination visitors and high-end shoppers on the hunt for something new. 
These shoppers will want to immerse themselves in the one-of-a-kind buying experience where everyone is made feel like a VIP. Concierge-style staff are on hand to welcome and guide shoppers visiting the lounge-like stores. Designed to exert warmth, with colors and lighting to set a calm, romantic mood, guests relax in comfortable armchairs, while staff showcase flowers, treats, gifts options and offer samples. Everything is customizable. 
Boutiques are 700 to 1,000 sq. ft. and would be ideally situated in super regional shopping centres. 
Think Retail is excited to work with Baron and the Cocoàge Addict team to expand this unique luxury concept. For information, contact the Think Retail Team