Kingsway Mall in Edmonton has made a commitment in the last few years to empowering women and championing gender equality in the retail sector.
With International Women’s Day set for March 8, the shopping centre will once again hold a number of events and activities to celebrate that day as one of its key goals in the area of community engagement is to specifically support women and female entrepreneurs.
Susan Denney, general manager of the mall which is owned and operated by Oxford Properties, said the shopping centre has had a lot of success in practically looking for ways to celebrate and support those Edmonton women wherever possible.
“We have some great female entrepreneurs in our centre already. We partnered with The Makers Keep, Glass Earth, Mon Amour, Keravie Lash Loft. The list goes on and on. It’s really quite interesting because they built their own community within our centre as well,” said Denney.
“We’ve always quietly been champions of supporting women in business. I myself have been a female in business. So there’s a bit of a connection there. And I think Edmonton has a real entrepreneurial spirit. There’s a lot of those businesses and opportunities out there that have allowed us to partner fairly easily.”
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🎉In celebration of International Women’s day coming up, we’re highlighting our female Store Managers, local Entrepreneurs and Administration staff throughout the week. ⠀ ⠀ Meet @keraviebytammy, the owner of @keravielashloft. Learn more about Tammy and what drove her to start her own business. Watch the full video in our Youtube – click the link in bio!
The shopping centre has also provided support for female-focused charities such as Aspiring Women in Leadership and Legacy and Girls in Film and Television as well as creating opportunities for local women-led businesses to grow in the community. Also, nearly all of the more than 150 store managers in the mall are female and a number of Kingsway’s management team are women.
“Along the lines of supporting these retailers as they enter our shopping centre, it’s more about just offering space and I think that’s the really important part. Aside from just offering space, we help them with their marketing plans, we help them with store design and construction, help educate them on the logistics of operating in a shopping centre. Just general coaching around what it takes to enter into brick and mortar space because some of our retailers maybe haven’t operated in a capacity other than online or from their homes,” said Denney.
“What’s really great is we have the flexibility that helps to remove some barriers that they might have when they’re entering into a traditional shopping centre environment.”
Is there a difference in what women bring to the retail experience compared with men?
“What’s unique about the female entrepreneur is they do a really great job of partnering amongst themselves so for example some of the businesses they’ll do activations in the centre and they’ll do it collaboratively. They seek out ways to support each other,” explained Denney. “That’s the unique piece.”
Kingsway, which is located in central north Edmonton with square footage of about 950,000 square feet and about 160 stores, will hold a number of events on Sunday March 8 for International Women’s Day including a women’s wellness speaker series, a community yoga class, free massages, a Women’s Day photo booth and pledge wall, and more.
In the last few years, Kingsway has invested about $70 million in redeveloping the former Target space to accommodate new retailers as well as a big renovation and redevelopment of new washrooms which included family, nursing and universal washrooms.
“Upcoming this year we’re also committed to spending another $2 million in redeveloping our food court which will add about 100 seats and new amenities like charging stations and multi-purpose space,” said Denney.