Unique Toronto-based retailer Drake General Store has opened a new three level flagship store on Canada’s ‘coolest’ retail strip, replacing its original location across the street. The new store is about double the size of the previous location and includes several unique features. The store officially opens on Tuesday, July 5, though it held its soft opening on July 1.
Drake General Store began in 2008 as a ‘hotel gift shop’ as part of the edgy Drake Hotel, founded by Jeff Stober (CEO, Drake Hotel Properties), Carlo Colacci and Joyce Lo. The store is proudly Canadian, supporting homegrown artists and designers. Drake General Store describes itself as being “a traditional hotel gift shop, a classic general store, a flea market stand, and a museum shop all rolled into one”, going on to say “We love classic and modern goods that fill us with whimsy and nostalgia”. The company now operates five Toronto stores, as well as Hudson’s Bay partner concessions in downtown Ottawa and Vancouver. The Toronto locations include the new flagship at 2 Abell Street (at Queen Street West) and freestanding locations at 2607 Yonge Street (north of Eglinton), at Union Station, as well as shop-in-stores at Hudson’s Bay’s Queen Street/CF Toronto Eaton Centre store and 44 Bloor Street West/Hudson’s Bay Centre location.
The new Abell Street flagship is almost 5,000 square feet on three levels. The store’s ground floor features a variety of eclectic products as well as a coffee shop featuring Canadian roasters, customized chocolates by Brandon Olsen, and a one-seat barbershop by Toronto’s Crows Nest Barbershop. The second floor features rotating pop-up concepts and is currently a 300 square foot New Balance footwear shop-in-store. The store’s third floor is geared towards events, artisan workshops, performance art and whatever else can be imagined. The new store addresses the pop-up retail trend (which has never been more popular in Canada) by hosting regular events in partnership with retailers, brands, designers and artists.
See below for more photos. All photos by Retail Insider, taken July 2, 2016.