Brief: Sugarfina Opens 1st Store, Former Sears Canada Suppliers Open Outlet, Hermes Opening Watch Boutique

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Sugarfina Opens 1st Standalone Canadian Boutique

Los Angeles-based luxury ‘grownup’ candy retailer Sugarfina has opened its first freestanding Canadian retail location, at Metropolis at Metrotown east of Vancouver. There are 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

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. 

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.

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

district m CEO JF Cote honoured with Significant Award

The CEO of innovative Montreal-based advertising company district m, won this year’s EY Emerging Entrepreneur of the Year 2017, Quebec — he was honoured at a black tie gala in Montreal on November 9. 

Mr. Cote was rewarded for his outstanding vision, leadership and achievement in building one of North America’s leading programmatic companies, successfully building a strong company while retaining the innovative culture of a startup.

District m’s mypixel advertising platform was recently featured on Retail Insider. For those who are interested, we have a PDF Q&A Interview with Mr. Cote about the award. 

Former Sears Suppliers Come Together to Open Mega Liquidation Centre in Markham to Sell Direct to Public

In the wake of the Sears Canada bankruptcy, more than 25 Canadian companies have come together to open a 150,000-square-foot, two-story mega liquidation outlet in Markham where a Sears store once stood, and sell their orphaned Sears inventory direct to the public at deeply discounted prices.

With the opening, dozens of local jobs are being created – including the hiring of former Sears employees, with many more positions still to be filled.

Bobby’s Liquidation Outlet is located at 2900 Steeles Avenue, The Shops on Steeles and 404 (Steeles Avenue at Highway 404), and on November 20 there will be an 11:00 a.m. news conference and ribbon cutting. R.S.V.P.:Gail Bergman or Elizabeth Glassen – Gail Bergman PR: As well, Bobby’s Liquidation Outlet will be donating a portion of profits to organizations assisting people with developmental disabilities.

Corbo Studio Hosts Opening for New Toronto Location

Upscale Toronto-based women’s multi-brand retailer Corbo Studio has re-opened at 118 Cumberland Street (having recently vacated a retail space closer to Avenue Road) in a bright new location facing Village of Yorkville Park. Owner Teresa Mazzei has ‘passed the torch’ of ownership to daughter Michelle Lisa, who has created a friendly and inviting space. 

Michelle brings a fresh approach and renewed vision to the boutique, all while sharing her mother’s philosophy. Artfully curated to include foundational pieces from labels such as by Malene Birger, Filippa K, and Vince., Corbo mixes high-street and high fashion for “the perfectly constructed and edgy balance.” 

Italian Kitchen Relocates Off Alberni Street

The Italian Kitchen restaurant has relocated off of Vancouver’s ‘Luxury Zone’ Alberni Street into a new space at 860 Burrard Street. CBRE Vancouver’s Martin Moriarty and Mario Negris negotiated the deal. 

Restaurants are finding it challenging to operate on Alberni Street, as rents have skyrocketed with the introduction of new luxury retailers — several have opened in the past year, and more will be opening soon. Glowbal Group owner Emad Yacoub said that his rent had doubled as his lease came up for renewal, hence why he moved. We’ll be doing a feature on Alberni Street here on Retail Insider within the next several days. 

Interestingly, the 860 Burrard Street building was once temporarily a home to a luxury brand — in the mid 1990’s, Sonia Rykiel operated at that address for a relatively short time, after vacating a space at 199 Water Street in the city’s Gastown area. 

Glen Korstrom from Business in Vancouver also just wrote a more extensive article on Italian Kitchen’s relocation

Sobeys Launches Holiday Commercial

Grocery chain Sobeys has launched a new holiday commercial, ‘Secret Shopper’, which aired this week. This commercial is the first national holiday brand spot Sobeys has done in the past few years. Last year, they remade their classic ‘Star of Christmas’ commercial in Atlantic Canada and it was a great success.

This year’s ‘Create a Little Holiday Magic’ campaign shifts the marketing focus from product to a larger, more emotional brand narrative. In addition, they partnered with Spotify for the first time to create a special holiday playlist.

INDOCHINO Hosting Black Friday events

Save up to 70% during INDOCHINO’s Black Friday Event — all suits, shirts & accessories with suits starting at $429 (reg. price $999). Use code BLKFRI. For Cyber Monday, New items will be added with sales up to 70% off in its showrooms and online with code CYBMON. The event takes place at all 18 INDOCHINO showrooms, as well as online. 

Hermes to Open Vancouver Watch Boutique

According to construction signage, French luxury brand Hermes is opening a watch boutique inside of Holt Renfrew in Vancouver. The space is located where Links of London recently had a boutique — Links has vacated Holt’s for a freestanding retail space in CF Pacific Centre

Hermes watches will be located near the soon-to-open Bulgari boutique on Holt’s ground floor. 

Hermes will also be unveiling the facade of its new 12,000 square foot Toronto flagship next week, and we’ll be profiling the store when it opens later this month — and something big will be happening in Vancouver, stay tuned for more details. 

Hogtown Smoke to Open 2nd Restaurant and Speakeasy in Toronto

Brokerage RKF has announced that it has arranged a 5,571-square-foot lease with southern-style BBQ and wood-fired grill Hogtown Smoke for its second location in Toronto, at 55 Colborne Street in the St. Lawrence Market district. Hogtown Smoke will open later this month.

RKF’s Steven Alikakos and Alexandra Fieder represented the landlord, Allied Properties REIT, in the transaction.

Hogtown Smoke will feature a 2,722-square-foot restaurant on the ground floor and a 2,849-square-foot bourbon speakeasy, “The Joint,” on the lower level at 55 Colborne Street. Located a few blocks from the world-renowned, 200-year-old St. Lawrence Market complex and the architecturally stunning Brookfield Place, Hogtown Smoke is ideally situated in the heart of Olde Town. The area is known for its historic architecture, exciting theatre, quaint shops, charming restaurants and many outdoor festivals. 

“With the addition of Hogtown Smoke, Colborne Street will become one of the most active bar and restaurant strips in the area,” said Alikakos.

Chanel Opens Toronto Flagship

“Wow” was the first word that came out of our mouth when we entered and toured the new 8,550 square foot Toronto Chanel flagship yesterday, ahead of its public opening on Friday morning. On Monday we’ll publish a lengthy article with photos and a description of the new space, which marks a milestone for Yorkville Avenue, which is becoming one of Canada’s top luxury retail addresses. We’ll also be featuring Yorkville Avenue in an article in December, as part of our new street tour/update series. 

Retail Insider will now be regularly including these briefs as part of our expanding reporting mandate. For more information, contact Editor-in-Chief Craig Patterson at:

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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