Chain Store Age names Sugarfina as a 2017 Breakout Retailer

March 08, 2017

In its second year, the award honors emerging retail/restaurant concepts that are innovative in their segment and show strong potential for growth. Selected by the editorial board of Chain Store Age, this year’s winning lineup features five forward-thinking brands from different industry segments. Sugarfina is in good company, named alongside, Altar’d State, Bentley Pet Stuff, MOD Pizza and Warby Parker
“Retailers have to go the extra mile to succeed in today’s highly competitive and disrupted marketplace,” says Marianne Wilson, editor-in-chief, Chain Store Age. “In their own unique way, each of the five winning brands has done just that. Although these retailers are widely diverse, they are alike in their ability to engage and delight customers, online, in store or both. And they all have a very clear pathway for growth.”
At Think Retail, we agree that Sugarfina is a fantastic concept with boundless potential—it’s one we’ve been watching with great enthusiasm. The company has carved an exclusive niche as the ultimate candy shop for grownups, featuring premium items made with the finest ingredients, sourced directly from artisan candy makers around the globe. 
Cofounders Rosie O'Neill and Josh Resnick came up with the idea after watching their childhood favorite movie, Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. They decided kids shouldn’t have all the fun and put the focus on satisfying the discerning sweet tooth. 
For two years, the duo travelled the world, meeting with fine candy makers and sampling their wares before launching an online candy shop in 2012. The following year they opened their first boutique in Beverly Hills.
Since then, their treats, which include everything from champagne-infused gummies to maple bourbon balls, have topped every it-list and become celebrity favourites, generating copious media accolades. Last summer, Sugarfina introduced Whispering Angel Rosé gummy bears, which were so popular the sold out within two hours, even crashing the company’s website. The waitlist grew to more than 18,000 people. 
As the brand’s popularity surged, so too did their bricks and mortar presence. Today, Sugarfina has more than 20 stand-alone locations in the United States, as well as 15 shop-in-shops with Nordstrom. In Canada, these luxury treats are available via Nordstrom’s Vancouver and Toronto locations. 
As Chain Store Age puts it: “Sugarfina made the jump from online to offline with style, with stores as luxe and beautiful as the candies on display.”
If you’ve never had the pleasure, I encourage you to peruse the Sugarfina site or visit a store: There’s a little bit of sweet luxury for every palate. And, while Sugarfina is a destination for those with a taste for the good life, its not priced out of reach. For instance, the popular Champagne Bears® are $8.50 US for a small cube and Pale Ale Pints are $7.50 US.  There are as well many beautiful gifts under $30 US, such as the Vice Collection Candy Bento Box® which includes Scotch Cordials, Cuba Libre® gummies, and Maple Bourbon Caramels.
We would like to congratulate Sugarfina and its fellow 2017 Breakout Retailer Award winners, which will be honored next week at Chain Store Age’s annual SPECS Conference in Florida. For more information about this amazing retail concept, or to check out its delicious candy collections, visit

Bizou ramps up plans for Ontario expansion with new store at CF Masonville Place

February 08, 2017

We are thrilled to announce that Montreal-based Bizou has signed a deal to open another marque store in Ontario, part of the company’s strategy to expand across the province.
The 558 sq. ft. boutique is set to open this summer at CF Masonville Place in London, Ont. The newly renovated shopping centre is an ideal fit for Bizou, which is the ultimate fashion co-tenant.
Bizou stores convey a modern retail experience, with the right mix of sophistication and fun, designed to attract those who seek something different in the way of ladies fashion jewelry and accessories. The majority of its stainless steel and sterling silver collections are the unique work of in-house designers, who travel the world for inspiration.Bizou’s new store will sparkle at Masonville, a premium shopping centre that recently completed a $77-million expansion and redevelopment, during which it welcomed a number of other best-in-class retailers, including Zara, H&M, Sport Chek, Disney, Sephora and Saje, as well as new restaurants and services.
This is just the beginning of Bizou’s exciting plans for 2017. In addition to Masonville, the pioneering retailer is prepared to open three more stores in Canada this year. The focus remains on Ontario, in particular the GTA. Ideal spaces are 500 to 850 sq. ft., with notable co-tenants, such as, but not limited to, H&M, Zara, Lole, Sephora, Banana Republic, Fossil and Victoria’s Secret.
The retailer has come a long way since Marcel Labrecque opened the first boutique in 1984: Today Bizou boasts a global network of more than 130 stores and counting.
In addition to Ontario, Bizou has a strong footprint in its home province of Quebec, where it has more than 90 stores, and the Maritime Region, where it has seven stores in New Brunswick, four in Nova Scotia and one in PEI, as well as Newfoundland, where it has three locations. Bizou also continues to grow on the international stage. In 2013, it opened at La Toison Dor in Dijon, France and the following year Bizou made its debut in Saudi Arabia, at Panorama Mall in Riyadh.  Bizou is expanding in the Kingdom, as well as markets across United Arab Emirates and Bahrain.
Think Retail partnered with Bizou nearly 20 years and we are proud to have worked alongside its talented team to witness the brand evolving into a true Canadian retail success story.
For more about this powerhouse retailer, visit or contact the Think Retail Team.

Filson to make Canadian debut in Vancouver’s Gastown

January 03, 2017

At Think Retail we have long-admired the Filson brand for its staying power. The U.S. company, which dates back to more than a century, has done the near-impossible—repositioned itself as a cool retail player, while keeping its core audience coming back for more. We are thrilled to confirm our  representation  of Filson and announce its first Canadian location, to open in Vancouver’s historic Gastown district, with a second store to follow.
In March, the 120-year-old Seattle outdoor clothing and luggage maker will open a 1,545 sq. ft. store at 47 Water Street in Vancouver’s trendy Gastown district.
Dubbed the city’s oldest neighbourhood, Gastown was Vancouver's first downtown core and is named for “Gassy” Jack Deighton, an English seaman, steamboat captain and barkeep who arrived in 1867 to open the area's first saloon. Gastown has a storied history, but had reemerged in recent years as a hip destination, home to an exciting array of fashionable stores and restaurants, as well as many entrepreneurial companies.
Think Retail negotiated the transaction and we are honoured to have been Filson’s Canadian broker for its first store.
We believe Gastown is a great fit for Filson: The retailer will be well-positioned in this destination neighbourhood, which offers historic charm, while embodying all that is hip and cool in the bustling city
Filson has experienced a similar journey—from heritage to hip—that started in 1987 when former train conductor Clinton Filson opened a retail outpost in Seattle. He then went on to patent the company’s now iconic cruiser jacket in 1914. Since then, Filson has been the go-to for hunters, ranchers, fishermen and outdoorsmen.  It built a reputation for making goods from the best materials possible and guaranteed every piece of merchandise.
The company has a global fan base, but in recent decades it was more surviving than thriving. That’s until Dallas-based private equity firm Bedrock Manufacturing stepped in, purchasing Filson in 2012.
Careful to keep Filson’s core customers happy, Bedrock worked to build the brand’s popularity among a new generation. They fine-tuned Filson’s collections to appeal to an array of cultural players, drawn to the retail brand’s authenticity, and expanded its offering. 
Today, the company sells everything from its iconic jackets to long underwear and a vast assortment of quality leather bags for men and women—they can cost up to $900, but are guaranteed for life.
For more about this heirloom brand and its retail expansion in Canada, visit Filson or contact the Think Retail Team. 

Copper Branch takes plant food mainstream with downtown Toronto location

December 15, 2016

We are excited to announce that Copper Branch has signed a deal to open its first restaurant in Toronto, part of the "Plant Based, Power Food" eatery’s substantial national expansion program.
The 675 sq. ft. restaurant will open at Commerce Court in the heart of the city’s financial district in early May. It’s an ideal location to introduce to the Downtown core this original Plant Based, Power Food restaurant concept, which stands apart for its fresh and nourishing approach to the QSR experience.
Commerce Court is a marque destination with a completely revitalized food court seating area, which opens December 19. After months of renovations, the space features lighting installations, new furniture and seating configuration, along with bright finishes. It’s an impressive area and an integral part of the complex.
At Think Retail, we were thrilled to partner with Copper Branch in the fall to help facilitate expansion across the country. We believe Copper Branch’s nourishing gourmet power foods will be the perfect fit for the city’s downtown health conscience office and retail community.
And, this is just the first step in an extraordinary national expansion program that is to include the securing and or opening of 40 additional locations over the next 24 months.
Established in Montreal in 2014, Copper Branch is a fast growing company with a clear mandate—to be the undisputed leader in healthy fast-casual foods.
It’s the brainchild of Rio Infantino, who after owning several fast food franchises over a period of 25 years, set out to redefine fast food with nutritious options for a healthier lifestyle.
Designed to make people feel good about the food they eat, Copper Branch features a tantalizing 100% plant based, power food menu, "Naturally" positioned to engage a wide health minded audience. This isn’t about servicing only a select Vegan community, but everyone looking for clean, healthy meal options.
It's slogan, Join the Food Revolution—invites a wide demographic to the table, as the concept takes plant-based foods to the mainstream market.
From power bowls to an array of tantalizing burgers, sandwiches, smoothies, soups and sides, the menu is designed to draw people in, for breakfast, lunch, dinner, a health boost at any time of the day including guilt free desserts.  
The goal is simple—serve the world real food as fast food for a change.
The key here is fast. While the concept taps into the trend towards prioritizing local, organic ingredients and slow cooking (never frying) Copper Branch caters to time-strapped consumers.
It’s a concept whose time has come and generating lots of buzz. In just two years, Copper Branch has already opened nine locations—eight in Quebec and one in Brooklin, Ontario—and is poised for further growth, with the initial focus on spreading across Quebec and Ontario as well as opening Flagship locations in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan and the Maritimes.
This is an ideal tenant with a lot of flexibility, as seeks a variety of sizes (from 300 to 1,600 sq. ft.) and will consider everything from multi-use office towers to super regional malls and high streets.
From a branding perspective, the company has done everything right. Their marketing materials, stores and menus are beautifully designed, highlighting the company’s values and attention to detail. Copper Branch has a clear vision and a loyal following.
Think Retail is excited to work with this unique concept as it expands from a strong foundation built on improving people and the planets health and well being. For more about Copper Branch visit or contact the Think Retail Team.

Change of Scandinavia kicks off major expansion plan with store at CF Carrefour Laval

December 06, 2016

We are delighted to announce that Change of Scandinavia has just finalized an agreement to open at the prestigious CF Carrefour Laval, part of a major rollout that will see the lingerie retail brand open 30 to 40 new stores across Canada.
The 550 sq. ft. store at Carrefour Laval takes over part of the space formerly occupied by Bentleys. The original space was demised to accommodate Change and Uno de 50.
Slated to open summer 2017, Change is the perfect addition to the Carrefour Laval retail mix. A shopping mecca, Carrefour Laval is home to more than 300 brand name stores, restaurants and entertainment, as well as its magnificent garden.
Change is a marquee brand that is expanding not only here in Canada, but around the globe. The company launched in Denmark 1995, first as a private label brand before opening its first stand-alone retail store in Copenhagen in 2001. The popular concept soon grew across Europe, and then into Asia and North America—today it has more than 240 corporate and franchise stores.
Its boutique are welcoming and modern, beautifully designed with a black and white palate that showcases a vast selection of more than 100 different sizes (up to M cup) in 10 different models. The brand appeals to a wide audience, offering a perfect fit for all shapes and sizes.
As a result, Change stores are favoured destination spaces that attract a variety of age groups, women who shop for lingerie several times a year and participate in the popular Club Change loyalty program.
While 75% of revenue is derived from the sale of underwear and bras, the company also offers a selection of loungewear, swimwear, nightwear, and stockings.
Change debuted in Canada in 2006 and now has 15 locations—five stores in British Columbia, one in Saskatchewan, five in Ontario and four in Quebec.
This summer, Change opened a 600 sq. ft. store on the main level at Park Royal South, one of Metro Vancouver’s most prominent and innovative retail destinations.  In the spring, they unveiled a 1,200 sq. ft. flagship in downtown Montreal at the trendy Place Montreal Trust.
Next up, ambitious plans to invest more than $6 million in 30 to 40 more stores in the next three to five years.
Think Retail partnered with Change just over a year ago and we are thrilled to work with international brand as it carves a strong niche across Canada: The immediate focus is on securing spaces of 600 to 1,000 sq. ft. in super regional malls in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec.
For more about Change and its exciting growth plans, visit or contact the Think Retail Team.

Marcello’s Market & Deli to expand in Ontario and Quebec

December 02, 2016

Marcello’s Market & Deli is the go-to source for amazing food and now this unique concept is expanding in Canada, with a focus on Ontario and Quebec.
Founded in Ottawa in 1997, Marcello’s is a well-established brand with locations in Canada and the United States. Here at home, there are more than 25 in Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec. Each embodies a warm European feel, with a fantastic selection of prepared foods and grocery items.
With its new tagline—Ready to Serve Freshness—the company is ideally positioned as an affordable gourmet marketplace for busy professionals,
Its locations have a fresh modern look and feature produce, deli items, groceries and freshly prepared take-out food, as well as a hot and cold buffet with more than 20 dishes cooked daily.  Marcello’s has perfecting its offering for 20 years, establishing itself as a leader in what is now dubbed the prepared meals trend.
The selection and quality are incredible—you could eat here every day and never get bored. There’s something for every taste, from veal Parmesan to beef bourguignon, tacos, chicken curry salad, seafood chowder, pastas and plenty of vegetarian options.
And now, the company is entering into an exciting time, as the Marcello’s team moves to build the brand in new markets.
With its unique blend of fresh food, great variety and affordable prices, this fast-growing franchise operation is an ideal tenant.
Marcello’s attracts a wide audience and keeps them coming back for more. Whether popping in for a quick coffee and biscotti in the morning; seeking an alternative to microwaved or fast-food lunches; catering for the office; or grabbing a freshly made nutritious meal to take home for dinner, Marcello’s is a destination.
Optimal spaces are in office buildings, as well as PATH and metro locations. Size is somewhat flexible, ranging from 1,500 sq. ft. to as much as 4,000 sq. ft., depending on the location.
For more about this fresh brand and its plans for expansion, please visit or contact the Think Retail Team.