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BRIEF: Intermix Exiting Canada, Chicken Chain Opening 30 Locations in Canada, Luxury Mall for Downtown Vancouver

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1
US-Based Dave’s Hot Chicken to Open 30 Locations in Canada, Starting in Toronto

Exterior of Dave's Hot Chicken. Photo: Dave's Hot Chicken
Exterior of Dave’s Hot Chicken. Photo: Dave’s Hot Chicken

Los Angeles-based Dave’s Hot Chicken will open its first international location next month in Toronto’s Parkdale neighbourhood at 1582 Queen Street West. A national expansion is planned over the course of 2021 with about 30 locations planned.

The fast-casual concept specializes in hot chicken tenders and sliders which are offered at seven various spice levels, ranging from No Heat to Reaper (which requires a signed waiver for those who dare), and a variety of sides including house-made kale slaw, creamy mac n’ cheese, and crispy french fries. The menu will feature items that are unique to Canada with locally sourced craft beers and classic Dave’s Hot Chicken staples shaped around ‘Canadian cuisine’.

Interior of Dave's Hot Chicken. Photo: Dave's Hot Chicken
Interior of Dave’s Hot Chicken. Photo: Dave’s Hot Chicken

Toronto-based Obelysk Foods Ltd. is the Canadian franchisee who is bringing Dave’s Hot Chicken to Canada. Blair Bitove, Director of Business Development, Obelysk. “In just a few years, Dave’s Hot Chicken has established a cult and celebrity following across the US with its craveable menu offerings and unique combinations of spices. We look forward to continuing that momentum across Canada and watching Canadians flock to the brand.”

Co-founder and Chef Dave Kopushyan, along with his three best friends, came up with the idea for Dave’s Hot Chicken in early 2017. Dave is a classically trained chef, and self-described ‘spice freak’ and says he was inspired by the unique, flavourful spice of Nashville Hot Chicken and set out to create his own version. Dave’s Hot Chicken is one of the fastest-growing restaurant concepts in history, with more than 200 locations under contract across the US since it began franchising in 2019.

Exterior of Intermix store before the brand's imminent departure from Canada. Photo: Craig Patterson
Exterior of Intermix store before the brand’s imminent departure from Canada. Photo: Craig Patterson

2
Intermix to Shut Only Canadian Store

Interior of Intermix store before the brand's imminent departure from Canada. Photo: Craig Patterson
Interior of Intermix store before the brand’s imminent departure from Canada. Photo: Craig Patterson

Gap-owned, multi-brand luxury retailer Intermix will shut its only Canadian store next month as the company downsizes its footprint. Intermix opened at 130 Bloor Street West in September of 2011.

The Gap acquired Intermix in 2012 with plans for further expansion. Intermix at the time was competing with another edgy multi-brand retailer, Scoop, which was also expanding across the United States.

WWD reported in January of 2011 that the 2,500-square-foot Toronto Intermix flagship was the start of a rollout of Intermix stores across Canada. Under the Gap’s ownership, that Canadian Intermix multi-store expansion never came to fruition.

The space won’t be vacant for long as brands look to open stores on Toronto’s ‘Mink Mile’ which houses flagships for brands such as Hermes, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Burberry, and others.

Rendering of the 1045 Haro Street Vancouver retail podium. Rendering Intracorp
Rendering of the 1045 Haro Street Vancouver retail podium. Rendering Intracorp

3
Luxury Retail Shopping Centre Proposal for Downtown Vancouver

A corner of the Brika merchandised content studio at First Capital Realty's luxury Yorkville Village property. Photo: Brika
An element of the Brika merchandised content studio at First Capital Realty’s luxury Yorkville Village property. Photo: Brika

Developer Intracorp is proposing a unique 42,000-square-foot mini shopping centre in downtown Vancouver that would be at the base of a 55 storey luxury condominium tower. The two-level retail plaza at 1045 Haro Street would include 19,000 square feet at street level with an additional 23,000 square feet on the second level.

The site at the northeast corner of Thurlow Street and Haro Street will feature a diagonal galleria that will extend from the corner of Thurlow Street and Rosemary Brown Lane through to a new public plaza that will face onto Haro Street. Rosemary Brown Lane is expected to be revitalized for commercial uses, as was the case with the laneway directly north of Robson Street’s 1000 block.

The developer won’t say what type of retail will move into the new centre, though it noted the possibility of a restaurant with patio space on the second level. A source being consulted for the project tells Retail Insider that the project is looking to court luxury retailers for the complex with a particular focus on the Thurlow Street side for big-names. This would bring luxury retail south from the Alberni Street and Thurlow Street intersection and could result in much needed space for luxury brands looking to open or expand in the Vancouver market.

4
BRIKA Moves Online

Upstairs office of the Namesake Studio. Photo: By The Namesake
Upstairs office of the Namesake Studio. Photo: By The Namesake

BRIKA, Toronto-based retail agency that creates experiential retail pop-ups for property developers and brands, has quickly pivoted their offline activations to provide an omni-channel experience at First Capital Realty’s luxury Yorkville Village property. The holiday pop-up, which was to take place in-person for the month of December, has now become a fully decorated and merchandised content studio and curb-side pickup location. This initiative has been launched in partnership with florist Bloom Service. In addition, a mirror e-commerce site has been launched at brikapopup.com.

This curated shop includes nearly 30 small and local businesses, and there is momentum to support local and small given the shut-down of retailers currently.

In addition to their Canadian pop-ups this winter season, BRIKA opened a concept shop “The Art of the Cozy” on December 15th in Aspen, Colorado. Featuring nearly 30 elevated brands, this curated store is in the centre of the city where retail occupancies are at nearly 100%.

5
By The Namesake Launches ‘Namesake Studio’: An Interactive Toronto Studio Space and Lifestyle Extension

Founder Rosa Halpern (center) with ATG’s Ryan Gibson (left) and Interior Designer Ali Budd (right)
Founder Rosa Halpern (centre) with ATG’s Ryan Gibson (left) and Interior Designer Ali Budd (right)

By The Namesake, a luxury custom leather brand, launches Namesake Studio: an interactive space that functions as a showroom, production facility, photography studio, event, and retail space.

Namesake Studio goes beyond the physical with a lifestyle extension including ready-to-wear and accessories designed to pair with the brand’s leather jackets, along with a curated selection of leather infused homeware. As a creative, the founder of By The Namesake, Rosa Halpern, has yearned for a unique concept studio to not only provide a haven for her team but a dynamic space that clients and fellow creatives within the industry can use.

With the help of Ali Budd, owner of Ali Budd Interiors, and Ryan Gibson, owner of Against The Grain Remodelling, the space, which was once an industrial shipping warehouse, has been transformed into a leather wonderland. The over-the-top decor includes a two-story cow-hide runner and leather-wrapped bar tops and benches that are meant to inspire visitors to help them imagine the endless possibilities of custom leather. The vision for her new home-base propelled Halpern to create an extension of the By The Namesake rock ‘n’ roll lifestyle — she took the opportunity to fill the space with an ever-evolving market approach consigning from local businesses and artisans, along with items made in-house that would complement her leather jackets and curated interiors.

Halpern built out the wearable extension in response to customer queries on how she styles her leather jackets and pants: “My customers have always asked me how to style their jackets with other clothing, often asking me where my full outfit was from. I started By The Namesake with the desire to create jacket styles that I could not find on the market and I am so excited to launch an extension that will advance the story of the brand, while reflecting on my own personal style.”

The extension includes six black silk basic styles; a jewelry line in collaboration with Mark Lash, one of Canada’s most prominent jewelry designers; and a curated selection of rare, globally-sourced first-generation vintage rock band t-shirts from the ‘80s and ‘90s.

The brand continues to carry their already existing personalized candles and leather bins while adding a new assortment of home accessories to its product lineup. Along with the in-house lifestyle items, Halpern has filled the studio with accessories, artwork, and homeware that offer a retail platform to other local small businesses and artisans, including Coup de Tete, SAMD, Hannah Candle, Tahsin The Good, Carmel Floral, and Mellah Projects.

The Namesake Studio lifestyle expansion will be available for purchase online at www.bythenamesake.com and in person at Namesake Studio, 95 Florence Street, Toronto.

Exterior of Southcentre Mall. Photo: Southcentre Mall
Exterior of Southcentre Mall. Photo: Southcentre Mall

6
Southcentre Mall is Taking a Community-Forward Approach to the 2020 Holiday Season

This holiday season, Southcentre Mall is implementing a community-forward approach to the holidays by focusing on giving back to those in need and supporting local businesses. Southcentre is inviting guests to help raise 350,000 meals for Food Banks Canada, in addition to continuing to champion the shop local movement on behalf of Calgary-based retailers that call the mall home.

Food banks around the country have experienced a 20% increase in the number of people needing support, and that number is continuing to rise. While most Calgarians were being told to stock up on supplies during the pandemic, those who struggle with food insecurity have not had that privilege.

Southcentre is calling on the Calgary community to offer a final wave of support to Food Banks Canada as the year comes to a close with its unique #PassThePlate2020 campaign. The campaign first launched in October and provides multiple ways to give back both virtually and in person by using #PassthePlate2020 on social media, donating outstanding balances from mall gift cards and scanning QR codes located throughout the mall.

Southcentre is also dedicated to supporting local entrepreneurs year round and focuses on breaking down barriers and providing opportunities that smaller enterprises might not normally have access to in order to help them achieve long term success and sustainability. This holiday season, Southcentre is helping shoppers to identify its local retailers with special stickers on storefronts. Oak & Tonic, Joydrop, Collab, Lamose, and Adesso Man are just a few examples of local retailers who have grown their businesses at Southcentre.

Southcentre has also introduced a number of initiatives to make shopping safer and simpler during the holidays. Shopping hours have been extended (open until 9pm on weekdays), guests can now virtually save their spot in line for specific retailers with Save Your Spot. Curbside pick-up is also available and the ShopNOW tool allows guests to plan their shopping trip online before heading in-store.

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