Vancouver-based large format outdoor membership-based consumer cooperative MEC is continuing its Canadian store expansion with a new location in Kitchener, Ontario. The 18,000 square foot store will open at Fairway Plaza at 10 Manitou Drive in the spring of 2017, a property owned by First Capital Realty. Construction has already begun, and is expected to take about nine months to complete.
The store will be centrally located near CF Fairview Park Mall and a future ION rapid transit station, and it will feature key elements of MEC’s renewed architectural brand, including a floating canopy at the store’s entrance. Ample wood and other natural materials will be used in the new space, which will feature a full-service bike repair and ski-tech shop as well as an equipment rental program for boats, skis and camping gear. A community meeting room will be available for use by local outdoor clubs and environmental organizations.
“The Tri-Cities is one of the fastest growing regions of Ontario, with many millennials among the area’s newcomers,” said MEC CFO Sandy Treagus. These are young, active tech-savvy individuals who we believe are well-disposed to MEC’s unique retail offering. We are keen to welcome new and existing Tri-Cities members to MEC’s ‘tent’,” he added.
Kitchener will be MEC’s seventh Ontario store location, following the opening of a large location in Toronto’s North York. The company is also relocating its London, Ontario store to a larger premises. MEC’s downtown Toronto location will also be relocated to busy Queen Street West in 2018.
MEC is seeing considerable success in Canada. Sales topped $350 million for the first time in 2015, while more than 225,000 new members joined its membership fold. Formerly known as ‘Mountain Equipment Co-op’, MEC boasts over 4 million Canadian members and 18 storefronts. The company donates 1% of revenues ($3.4 million donated in 2015) to Canadian non-profit organizations that help conserve ecologically and recreationally important areas.