Iconic Montreal-based jeweller Maison Birks has launched a new store targeting younger customers, including a bridal section geared towards Millennials. The concept store opened yesterday in the new Nordstrom-anchored expansion wing at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre, and will act as a prototype for future Birks store renovations.
The bright store features natural light from the glass facade, which allows customers to easily see inside of the store. The informality of design also translates to the store’s interior, with barriers between salespersons and customers removed, creating a store layout that “works around various pods and stations, each themed to tell a different story”, according to Birks. The store’s open design is expected to resonate with more youthful shoppers, who may otherwise be intimidated by the look and layout of more traditional retailers.
The store spans almost 3,000 square feet, and stocks products ranging from the edgier ‘Rock & Pearl’ line to classic Canadian diamond engagement rings. Shop-in-shops are easily visible from within the store as well as the mall, featuring brands such as Breitling, Roberto Coin, Baume & Mercier, Messika, and a Tag Heuer shop-in-store, which is the first to reflect the brand’s new design.
The store’s bridal area offers a high counter with bar stools where customers can browse engagement rings in small groups, or as a couple. This is contrary to the tradition of private ring shopping, where the future husband may make a purchase a surprise for his fiancée, for example. Comfort is key to the new store design, with seating areas designed for casual luxury.
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The new Yorkdale store also features a nod to Birks’ past, with a wall of historic photographs paying tribute to the heritage of the brand (founded by Henry Birks in 1879). Birks branding continues with a collection of the brand’s iconic ‘blue boxes’ on one back wall. The store’s entryway, facade design and carpeting also reflect the idea of the company’s gift boxes.
Yorkdale’s Maison Birks relocated from a nearby space (next to Saint Laurent Paris, which opens in Yorkdale next month), and Jeff Berkowitz of Aurora Realty Consultants negotiated the lease deal on behalf of the retailer.