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Retail Photo Tour: The Ever-Changing Sherwood Park Mall in Sherwood Park, Alberta

Retail Insider continues its Photo Tour series of Canadian malls to provide a window into shopping centres across the country that may be continuing to grow and expand while dealing with the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. This edition takes us to Sherwood Park Mall, which is located in Sherwood Park, Alberta.

Sherwood Park is a ‘hamlet’ with nearly 100,000 residents and is part of Strathcona County, located just east of Edmonton. The average household income is about $160,000 a year and the average age of residents is 39. The majority of housing is single-detached with many households having at least one young child.

We connected with the team at Sherwood Park Mall for this experience, as it’s important to document this timeframe in Canadian retail history, and will provide a historical glimpse when we look back in years to come.

Our thanks go out to the incredible team at Sherwood Park Mall for their help with this tour, including Rebecca Quinn (Marketing Manager) and Seana Almer (General Manager). We’d also like to thank Devon Riel from Avonlea Photography for the images.

Sherwood Park Mall – Leasing Map Feb 1 2021 – Click for link to Primaris Management Leasing full size document

History of Sherwood Park Mall

To look at the present day mall and discuss future improvements it is important to know the history.

Sherwood Park Mall opened in 1972 under the name “Eastgate Mall”, with a construction price tag of $4 million. Owner, Patrician Land Corporation, went into receivership in 1984, with Joseph Tenenbaum & Northern Telecom taking over the property. They subsequently doubled the size of the mall, added a food court, and changed the name.

In the years since, the mall has undergone renovations and improvements, including modernizing guest and back of house areas. In years past, the Strathcona County Public Library was located on the lower level of the mall with access from the street at the back of the property, as well as from an escalator within the mall. In 2012 the space was converted to a Goodlife Fitness after the library moved to a new building nearby.

On February 1, 2013, Primaris REIT announced a $377 million deal to buy a collection of malls in Alberta, including the Sherwood Park Mall.

New retailers continue to be added amid a changing retail landscape.

Here’s a Look at the Mall and What’s Happening:

Cineplex Cinemas at Sherwood Park Mall – February 2021 (Photo Avonlea Photography)

The Cineplex theatres at Sherwood Park mall opened in November of 2000 under the Galaxy Cinemas banner before being changed to Cineplex. Prior to the pandemic, the Cineplex theatre was a significant draw to the mall. The theatres are currently being renovated to a “VIP” standard, including reclining seats and other features of comfort. Given the number of households with children in the area, Cineplex decided against turning it into an 18+ theatre serving alcohol so as to maintain community inclusivity.

Shoppers Drug Mart at Sherwood Park Mall – February 2021 (Photo Avonlea Photography)

Near the theatre is a 17,125-square-foot Shoppers Drug Mart store (which relocated to its current spot on January 2nd, 2019), which features a prominent Beauty Boutique section housing several ‘prestige’ brands. Included is French luxury brand Chanel, which is said to be seeing strong sales at the Sherwood Park location. Given that Sherwood Park lacks a Sephora store or a beauty floor in a department store such as Hudson’s Bay, Shoppers Drug Mart serves the market with similar brands and price points.

Prior to being occupied by Shoppers Drug Mart, the space was a Chapters book store. It was replaced in 2017 with a new Indigo store in a repurposed space occupied by Target until its exit in early 2015.

Shoppers Drug Mart Photo at Sherwood Park Mall – February 2021 (Photo Avonlea Photography)
Purdys at Sherwood Park Mall – February 2021 (Photo Avonlea Photography)

A Purdy’s chocolate store occupies a prominent location near Shoppers Drug Mart facing the mall’s food court. This Vancouver-based chocolatier’s story started in 1907 and almost 115 years later, you’re able to find locations across Canada, like this one at Sherwood Park Mall.

Sherwood Park Mall is home to several national and international retail tenants, as well as some independents such as Sports Closet in the photo below.

Sports Closet at Sherwood Park Mall – February 2021 (Photo Avonlea Photography)

The sports retail industry in Canada has taken a hit in 2020 and now into 2021, first with the NHL/NBA bubbles and now with most leagues being forced to play in creative modes.

The NHL, for example, has put the Canadian teams into the “North Division” and is conducting a 56-game season playing without fans in attendance. The Toronto Blue Jays played last season out of Buffalo, NY and the Raptors are playing their 2021 NBA home games in Tampa, FL.

This means that retailers like Sports Closet aren’t able to sell new merchandise to fans who aren’t attending games or able to watch sports in bars/restaurants.

2021 was specifically difficult for NHL fans, as the NHL released a hugely popular “reverse retro” line of jerseys that could only be found on a select number of websites and in certain stores. You can actually see those jerseys in the below photo, which makes us want to travel to Sherwood Park Mall for a shopping trip asap.

Sports Closet at Sherwood Park Mall – February 2021 (Photo Avonlea Photography)
Caposhie at Sherwood Park Mall – February 2021 (Photo Avonlea Photography)

Vancouver-based fashion retailer Caposhie recently opened at Sherwood Park Mall on November 9th, 2020. The unique retailer is described as showcasing “an ever-changing assortment of limited quantities in a wide variety of curated, effortless clothing, merchandised with our exclusives; from elevated basics in natural fibres, to designer collaborations created using up-cycled fabrics and innovative manufacturing processes.”

The retailer appears to be in expansion mode in Western Canada.

Caposhie at Sherwood Park Mall – February 2021 (Photo Avonlea Photography)
T-Kettle at Sherwood Park Mall (Photo: Social Media)

We are seeing T-Kettle stores open up in vacated David’s Tea locations across Canada, including the one in our past tour at Avalon Mall in Newfoundland and this 793-square-foot location at Sherwood Park Mall.

Sherwood Park Food Court

Famous Wok and TacoTime at Sherwood Park Mall – February 2021 (Photo Avonlea Photography)

The Sherwood Park Mall food court features popular food vendors with a central seating area. Because of the pandemic, seating was removed temporarily from the usually busy space. Since the photographs were taken, Alberta has once again permitted indoor dining.

With room for nine spots, the food court currently offers: A&W, Edo Japan, Famous Wok, Joey’s Urban, TacoTime, and Thai Express. There are two spots vacant for future vendors.

Food Court at Sherwood Park Mall – February 2021 (Photo Avonlea Photography)

Washrooms were relocated several years ago from the area where the hoarding is in the photos below to a larger and more contemporary space nearby.

Food Court at Sherwood Park Mall – February 2021 (Photo Avonlea Photography)
Curbside Pickup Area at Sherwood Park Mall – February 2021 (Photo Avonlea Photography)

Sherwood Park Mall, as with most malls during the pandemic, has had to innovate by offering curbside pickup of purchases ordered online. Some consumers are still hesitant to go into retail spaces, instead seeking contactless options to avoid infection.

In the images below, you’ll find the in-mall marketing that was designed with an eye to simplistic messaging and bright colours. This was a partnership between the mall and the retailers, as safety is a priority and having decals supplied to the retailers showed solidarity and created a “community” feel.

Bath & Body Works at Sherwood Park Mall – February 2021 (Photo Avonlea Photography)

Popular retailer Bath & Body Works operates a busy store at Sherwood Park Mall. The retailer is known for its scented products, including a vast assortment of hand sanitizers.

The popularity of the retailer is evident in the markers on the floor in the mall to direct any lineups that may happen.

Bath & Body Works at Sherwood Park Mall – February 2021 (Photo Avonlea Photography)
Bellissima at Sherwood Park Mall – February 2021 (Photo Avonlea Photography)

Women’s fashion retailer Belissima relocated several years ago to a space near the mall’s food court. The store is one of the pricier women’s fashion stores at Sherwood Park Mall.

La Vie en Rose at Sherwood Park Mall – February 2021 (Photo Avonlea Photography)

Montreal-based Lingerie and swimwear retailer La Vie En Rose was in expansion mode prior to the pandemic, and was seeing success as competitors such as Victoria’s Secret and La Senza began to fall.

Ardene at Sherwood Park Mall – February 2021 (Photo Avonlea Photography)

The mall’s Ardene store relocated on December 1st, 2019 to a much larger location near the mall’s new Indigo store. The former Ardene location near the food court spanned a bit over 3,000 square feet, and the new store is nearly 15,500 square feet.

Ardene’s store footprints have grown substantially amid an increasing product assortment that includes more women’s fashion. Ardene is based out of Montreal.

Ricki’s and Ardene at Sherwood Park Mall – February 2021 (Photo Avonlea Photography)

Retailers Ricki’s, Bootlegger, and Cleo, all operating under Comark ownership, have stores in a row at Sherwood Park Mall. We reported in June of 2020 that Comark had filed for bankruptcy protection.

Below the Belt at Sherwood Park Mall – February 2021 (Photo Avonlea Photography)

Casual fashion retailer Below the Belt, known for its denim, operates a store at Sherwood Park Mall. Below the Belt was founded in Edmonton in 1978 and at one point had many more stores than it does now.

Peoples The Diamond Store at Sherwood Park Mall – February 2021 (Photo Avonlea Photography)

Peoples Jewellers, which celebrated 100 years of business in 2019, occupied a prominent corner location at Sherwood Park Mall. Peoples has over 150 stores in Canada and serves a moderate-priced market below retailers such as Tiffany & Co. and Cartier.

DSW at Sherwood Park Mall – February 2021 (Photo Avonlea Photography)

The 14,000-square-foot DSW shoe store opened at Sherwood Park Mall in September of 2015 and Retail Insider attended the opening. Sherwood Park was DSW’s 10th Canadian store amid a rapid expansion at the time. US-based DSW entered the country by acquiring Town Shoes Ltd. and in 2018, the Town Shoes chain of stores was shut down by the parent company.

Chatters at Sherwood Park Mall – February 2021 (Photo Avonlea Photography)

Chatters is classic Canadian success story, with a pair from Red Deer and Regina coming together to grow the concept from 1991 to 2015. In 2015, the partners strategically partnered with wholly-owned Canadian private equity firm ONCAP and currently have 115 salons across the country and employ more than 1600 staff.

Urban Planet at Sherwood Park Mall – February 2021 (Photo Avonlea Photography)

Canadian value-priced casual retailer Urban Planet opened at Sherwood Park Mall on May 3rd, 2018. The 15,000-square-foot store is located near Indigo at the south end of the mall, featuring a spacious layout with an area with many dressing rooms.

Ardene and the exterior of Sherwood Park Mall – February 2021 (Photo Avonlea Photography)

As part of the mall’s renovations, the new Ardene store gained an exterior entrance in the mall as per the photo above.

Sherwood Park Mall – February 2021 (Photo Avonlea Photography)

The white box to the left in this photo was once a Pier One Imports furniture store. Pier One exited Canada last year and the space is for lease.

Indigo at Sherwood Park Mall. Photos: R Ramjohn via Google Images

Following Target’s exit from Sherwood Park Mall in early 2015, two retailers moved into the large space. That included Indigo and Safeway, both of which opened in the fall of 2017.

Safeway at Sherwood Park Mall (Photo: Merle Prosofsky via Fillmore Construction)

Pre-COVID Renovation Photos

Wrap Up of the Sherwood Park Mall Photo Tour (February 2021)

And that’s a wrap! Join us for more photo tours in 2021. Retail Insider is enjoying the process of exploring malls across the country during a challenging time for the industry.

Our thanks go out to the incredible team at Sherwood Park Mall for their help with this tour, including Rebecca Quinn (Marketing Manager) and Seana Almer (General Manager). We’d also like to thank Devon Riel from Avonlea Photography for the images.

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