Woolrich, America’s oldest outdoor clothing company, has entered the Canadian retail scene with its first store at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre — and it’s impressive. The company’s president says he expects to open at least three stores in Canada by the year 2019, targeting Montreal and Vancouver for standalone Woolrich store locations.
The Yorkdale store occupies a 2,875 square foot retail space in Yorkdale’s Nordstrom Wing, between Warby Parker and Mendocino. Woolrich’s facade features the trademark red-and-black ‘Woolrich Buffalo Check™ similar to its Tokyo flagship, as well as a video screen above the storefront.
The Toronto store’s design was inspired by Japanese architecture firm Wonderwall‘s Tokyo flagship, with an impressive interior that includes a mix of contemporary elements and distressed wood fixtures, in a brightly-lit space. The store includes men’s and women’s fashions, outerwear, accessories and footwear.
Aurora Realty Consultants is acting on behalf of Woolrich for its Canadian expansion, and Jeff Berkowitz and Ashley Lebofsky acted on behalf of the retailer in the Yorkdale deal. According to Aurora Realty Consultants’ website, Woolrich stores ideally occupy retail spaces in the 2,500 square foot range, either in enclosed malls or on urban high streets.
In an interview at the store’s grand opening last week, Woolrich President Nicholas P. Brayton said that he expects at least two more Woolrich stores to open in Canada — a Montreal store would likely open in 2018, and Vancouver would follow in 2019. He said that he expects Montreal and Vancouver locations to be on urban street-fronts, as opposed to in an enclosed mall like the Yorkdale store. He noted that Yorkdale is the company’s first mall store.
Woolrich International — a new entity created in fall 2016 after the merger of Woolrich Inc. and Woolrich Europe — plans to open more than 60 Woolrich stores worldwide by the year 2020. Mr. Brayton said that Europe would be a significant expansion market for the brand and as well, the United States is expected to see more Woolrich store locations. There are currently 26 Woolrich stores in the world, including two in the United States — one in Boston at 299 Newbury Street, as well as a store at 125 Wooster Street in New York City’s Soho area. It also operates an outlet in Woolrich, Pennsylvania.
The company was founded in Pennsylvania in 1830 for the purpose of manufacturing fabric for the wives of hunters, loggers and trappers. Later, the company also outfitted clothing supplies to the American Civil War. It includes two labels: Woolrich Outdoor, distributed in North America, and Woolrich John Rich & Bros., the contemporary high-end outerwear line that is distributed worldwide.
*All photos by Erin Leydon Photography.