Upscale Vancouver-based multi-brand menswear retailer Boys’Co has informed Retail Insider that it will be shutting its operations this year. The retailer got its start in 1984 with a store location at Vancouver’s Oakridge Centre and was an extension of the Murray Goldman menswear brand that began in 1946.
Owner David Goldman says that he has negotiated Boys’Co’s departure with its landlords for the three Vancouver-area stores at Metropolis at Metrotown, Guildford Town Centre and Coquitlam Centre which will all close towards the end of the year. The company also has an e-commerce website with an assortment of brands. Goldman said that the company has spoken to each member of his team one-on-one to discuss the news and that 35-year veteran and General Manager Michael Roley was instrumental in helping coordinate the strategy to wind down the business. Suppliers have also been contacted to let them know that there would be no fall 2021 orders according to Goldman.
David Goldman conceptualized the Boys’Co brand and opened its first store on October 18, 1984 at Vancouver’s then recently renovated Oakridge Centre. The Boys’Co store was located next to Aritzia’s first standalone store which opened the same day. Boys’Co was an offshoot of luxury multi-brand menswear retailer Murray Goldman which David’s father opened in 1946 with a store on West Hastings Street. The family holdings company, which also includes real estate and other investments, is named Murray Goldman Ltd. to this day.
In a statement, David Goldman said, “75 years – we had a hell of a run – as one of British Columbia’s longest continuously running retail operations – and we’ve always been thrilled to be steeped in a major part of BC retail history.”
Over the years, the company operated stores under various banners. The Murray Goldman Men’s Stores operated from 1946 to the 1990s and carried some top-of-the-line brands such as Lanvin, Givenchy, Brioni and various other French and Italian brands. Between 1970 and 1986 a denim concept called Bus Stop Jean Shops operated several storefronts. A discount concept called The Clothing Market operated in the 1970s and 1980s and a unisex concept called Magnet Stores operated in the 1980s. A preppy concept store called The Ivy Room operated from 1962 to 1970 and was revived at Metropolis at Metrotown in the 2010s for a time. A concept called Goldman and Son operated in the 1990s and early 2000s in Vancouver.
Under the Boys’Co banner specifically was Boys’Co Sport which operated at Vancouver’s Oakridge Centre in the 1990s and The Boys’Co General Store and Café which operated in Vancouver’s Yaletown area in the 1990s. The Boys’Co chain also once had stores on Robson Street in downtown Vancouver as well as at CF Richmond Centre in years past.
“We seemingly did it all – provided employment for many long-term and loyal folks, with whom we built lifelong relationships. And we made friends of both customers, and cherished fashion suppliers alike,” said Goldman in a statement. “We succeeded, in mostly good years and a few not-so-good, but always had fun doing so – while operating a three generation, locally owned, family business.”
Goldman expressed gratitude to the company’s employees for their service over the years in the family business. “To say thank you to the many people who helped us succeed will never be enough. We are so grateful for the hundreds of employees who graced our sales floors over the years, who managed our shops, greeted our customers, and who ‘made the sale’.” He went on to say, “We’ve been blessed working with many extraordinary men and women in all capacities, who stayed with us for 10, 20 and over 30 years. To this day! Grateful cannot begin to describe our appreciation!”
He also expressed gratitude to suppliers that have partnered with the retailer over the years. “To the number of folks whose offices, showrooms, and trade show booths we got to visit, engage with and who provided us with professional advice and the many fashion brands to pursue our trade and continually fill our shops, you will never be forgotten. You became our respectful (and respected) suppliers, you became our friends and our confidantes – and we couldn’t have done it without you. You are what made our career fun and fulfilling – and you reminded us daily of why our industry is a noble profession! We are overwhelmed with gratitude!”
Goldman said that he will miss the buying trips and socializing that became part of running a multi-brand menswear business. “Visiting the many cities in Canada, the US and Europe will always be one of the highlights of my career as we got to know the many people on our numerous visits in Toronto, Montreal, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New York, London, Paris, Cologne, Berlin, Milan, and Florence, but the biggest highlight by far will be the years I got to spend with both my son Sam and my dad Murray as the three generations of us ran the show for those few years we were blessed to work together!”
“We always believed in a time-honoured approach to people and relationships, adding in a dash of humour, irreverence, creativity – and respect! And while we always felt we made a fashion statement, our statement for today is – Thank You!”
At 71, David Goldman is still youthful in appearance and dress. His personality translated to Boys’Co marketing with cheeky ad phrases such as “it’s a Guy Thing”. In an interview in 2018, Goldman explained to Retail Insider how Boys’Co was showcasing well-established medium to upper end designers catering to young and ‘fashion-inspired’ men.
Boys’Co became known for carrying a range of designer brands for men, as well as its own private label line which included t-shirts with the Boys’Co logo. In the 1990s these shirts were popular with young men living in the Lower Mainland and even beyond. Designer brands featured on Boys’Co’s website today include Hugo Boss, Moschino, Stone Island, Versace Jeans Couture, Y-3 Yohji Yamamoto, Boy London, C.P. Company, Kappa, Lacoste and others.
We reported in April of 2014 that Boys’Co had renovated its then flagship store at 1044 Robson Street, which relocated to the Coquitlam Centre in the summer of 2018. Drake-owned brand OVO subsequently leased the Boys’Co’s Robson Street space. In October of 2014 Retail Insider attended the 30-year anniversary celebration of the Boys’Co brand that was held at the then Robson Street location. That year, Georgia Straight’s ‘Best of Vancouver 2014 Awards” named Boys’Co as “Vancouver’s Best Men’s Independent Store”.
David Goldman started his fashion career as a teenager in the 1960s. While in high school, he worked part-time at his father’s store, Murray Goldman Men’s Wear. After college, David moved to London UK, where he worked full time at a young men’s boutique on fashionable King’s Road. He then returned to Vancouver in 1971 to work alongside his father. David’s initial responsibilities included operating and buying for the company’s Bus Stop Stores. David’s son Sam Goldman became manager of operations of Boys’Co several years ago as the third generation to operate the business.
Even prior to the pandemic, the multi-brand menswear business in Canada was challenging amid increasing competition. In the Vancouver area, competition at the upper end has been particularly fierce with the entry of Nordstrom to the market and the expansion of Holt Renfrew, while the growth in e-commerce has also resulted in more shopping happening online. Brands opening their own stores has also been a challenge for multi-brand retailers in Canada as some brands increasingly adopt direct-to-consumer models.