Retail Construction Challenge: Building Eileen Fisher

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A considerable amount of work goes into creating a beautiful retail store. Often, there are multiple challenges faced at various stages of construction, which can range from unexpected delays to massive urban floods. Pace Construction‘s owner, Alison Eden, provides a brief overview of her challenges and successes in doing general contracting work on two Canadian Eileen Fisher stores. 

Ms Eden explained how Pace Construction’s relationship with Eileen Fisher began a few years ago, when she received a call to tender for the Calgary store at CF Chinook Centre. She recognized how it was a great opportunity for her company, not to mention an honour, to build the retailer’s second Canadian store — and she wanted to do it right. A major incident happened during construction however, unrelated to the companies themselves — the Bow River flooded much of the city, making it almost impossible to get trucks through. Not only that, CF Chinook Centre became a flood ‘command post’ and all the while, time was ticking for Eileen Fisher’s scheduled July 2013 opening date. 

Ms. Eden explained how hard work and cooperation, along with some begging of truck drivers and suppliers, allowed her team to complete construction of the store space despite much of Calgary being shut down for two weeks during the initial cleanup. Pace Construction’s goal was to see the project through and to make sure that Eileen Fisher opened as close to its originally intended schedule as possible. Hard work and good people made it happen, she said, with the store opening successfully to much fanfare. 

The client was obviously impressed, and again contacted Pace Construction to build Eileen Fisher’s third Canadian store at Toronto’s CF Sherway Gardens. Although Toronto didn’t experience any floods, the project wasn’t without its challenges, she explained. With a considerable amount of help and support from Eileen Fisher’s New York office, the store was able to open in March of this year. Ms. Eden explained how Eileen Fisher knows its brand, and how each space is individually designed to cater to local shopper demographics. What resulted in Toronto was an airy store (see photos in this article) allowing customers to feel at home while they shop. Ms. Eden thanked her team as well as sub contractors, supers, project managers and others who made this possible, and she said “we can’t wait to sink our teeth into the next venture”. 

Moving forward, Pace Construction is working on a number of retail construction projects at the moment, including for clients Hallmark, Claire’s, Yankee CandleSouth Street Burger, The Children’s Place, Pepper Palace, Hot Topic and a soon-to-open Calvin Klein store in suburban Toronto. 

Note: Pace Construction is an ongoing sponsor of Retail Insider. Contact for sponsorship opportunities. 



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