Canadian footwear brand Shumaker (pronounced ‘shoe maker’) will expand its base of freestanding stores after seeing success with its first locations. Shumaker has already opened eight locations in just eight months, with more to follow as it seeks space in busy shopping centres.
The Shumaker brand is known for its contemporary, casual footwear for both men and women, and began in 1948 as a footwear manufacturer and distributor. The company, headquartered in Mississauga, has grown over the years and now boasts wholesale distribution at over 1,600 points of sale across Canada. Prices are considered to be moderate by footwear standards, and can be viewed on Shumaker’s e-commerce site.
After seeing considerable wholesale success, Shumaker set out to open its own branded freestanding stores. Working with an in-house design team, the company created a store prototype featuring primarily white interiors with strong red accents, as well as contemporary fixtures and eye-catching facades. Images in this article, supplied by Shumaker, show the store design without footwear in order to provide design context.
Shumaker’s first location opened in August of 2015 at Lansdowne Place in Peterborough, Ontario. Since then, about one store has opened per month, according to Shumaker’s Director of Operations, Ishan Singh. The retailer has opened seven freestanding stores in Southern Ontario, including locations in Barrie (RioCan Georgian Mall), Bellville (Quinte Mall), Hamilton (CF Lime Ridge), Ottawa (two stores: Carlingwood Shopping Centre and Place d’Orleans) as well as two Toronto area stores (Erin Mills Town Centre in Mississauga and CF Markville in Markham).
The brand’s physical stores aim to impress and provide top-notch customer service, according to Mr. Singh. Shumaker’s website explains that its product is “quality-centred, value-driven and original” and that “Shumaker is built on the same family values that are found in homes across the country”, going on to say: “Resting on principles of respect, Shumaker provides unmatched customer service and a personalized shopping experience in a distinguished setting”.
Moving forward, Mr. Singh explained that Shumaker will look to continue its growth momentum into the fall of 2016 and beyond, as it continues to seek out retail spaces for new store locations in Ontario. Shumaker stores are ideally in the 1,400 square foot to 1,800 square foot range and although shopping centre locations are a priority, Mr. Singh said that urban street front stores could be a possibility as well.