Sugarfina Secures 1st Standalone Canadian Retail Space

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Los Angeles-based luxury ‘grownup’ candy retailer Sugarfina has secured its first freestanding Canadian retail location, with plans for more as the brand expands with the help of a newly announced $35 million growth equity financing from private equity firm Great Hill Partners

Sugarfina’s first standalone Canadian location will open at Metropolis at Metrotown in Burnaby (east of Vancouver) on November 1 of this year. The 1,098 square foot retail space is located on the mall’s ground floor, across from BC’s first UNIQLO store which will also open this fall. Tony Flanz of Think Retail represented Sugarfina in its deal with Metropolis at Metrotown’s landlord Ivanhoé Cambridge. Sugarfina confirms that the company intends on operating standalone stores in Vancouver as well as in the Toronto market, with as many as 10 locations in Canada in the coming years. 

Metropolis at Metrotown is the largest shopping centre in British Columbia as well as one of the largest and busiest in the country, according to Retail Council of Canada’s Shopping Centre Study. The mall is also one of the country’s most productive, and numbers will be updated this fall when Retail Council of Canada releases its 2017 Canadian Shopping Centre study. 

According to Think Retail’s website, Sugarfina is seeking retail space in major malls, ideally in the 600 square foot to 1,000 square foot range.

Until now, Sugarfina has been available in a handful of Canadian retailers, including five shop-in-stores inside of Canada’s Nordstrom locations in Vancouver, Calgary, Ottawa, and Toronto. The first Sugarfina shop-in-store opened at Nordstrom’s CF Pacific Centre flagship in Vancouver in September of 2015. 

Sugarfina stores feature premium items made from high-quality ingredients, sourced directly from artisan candy makers around the globe. Products include gourmet chocolates, caramels, gummies, malt balls, licorice and other delicious confections. Champagne-infused gummies and maple bourbon caramels have been popular, with celebrity endorsements helping grow brand awareness. 

Small containers of candies are priced starting at under $10, with mix-and-match options including a ‘design your own bento box’ where several smaller candy-filled cubes (between three and eight cubes per ‘bento box’) are assembled into gift packages. 

In the summer of 2016, Sugarfina introduced Rosé rose-shaped gummy bears, which were so popular they sold out within two hours while traffic caused the company’s website to crash. The wait list grew to more than 18,000 people.

Sugarfina was founded by husband-wife couple Josh Resnick and Rosie O’Neill, who came up with the concept after watching the original Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory movie together on their third date. Recognizing a niche for grownup candy retail, the couple traveled the world and met with candy makers, eventually opening an online candy shop in August of 2012. 

In November of 2013, Sugarfina’s first boutique opened on Santa Monica Boulevard in Beverly Hills. The 1,400 square foot store was referred to as “the Tiffany & Co.” of candy” by online culinary publication Eater, referencing both the white-and-blue colour scheme as well as the store’s high-end offerings. 

The Sugarfina concept has grown rapidly, now boasting 29 boutiques in the United States with three of those being located in Nordstrom stores. 

Top Photo: NorthPark Center

Article Author

Craig Patterson
Craig Patterson
Located in Toronto, Craig is the Publisher & CEO of Retail Insider Media Ltd. He is also a retail analyst and consultant, Advisor at the University of Alberta School Centre for Cities and Communities in Edmonton, former lawyer and a public speaker. He has studied the Canadian retail landscape for over 25 years and he holds Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws Degrees.

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