Richmond Hill-based Staples Canada has opened its newest ‘Working and Learning Company’ concept store at 517 Richmond Street East in downtown Toronto’s Corktown District.
The relocation of the downtown Toronto store was precipitated by the announcement of the rapid transit ‘Ontario Line‘ which is bringing 15.6 kilometers of mass transit from Exhibition Place to the Science Centre. Plans for the transit project will take track along Queen Street to Moss Park and then continue south to the First Parliament site and former Front Street Staples location.
“Community is more important now than ever before, and we value the role we play in the communities we serve through our network of 300+ stores across Canada,” said Staples Canada CEO David Boone. “While our new store is exciting, we’re equally excited to give back to the community that we’ve been a part of since our Front Street store opened in 1993.”
The brand was looking towards keeping the existing network of stores intact while building for the future concepts and technologies.
“We’re able to secure another location downtown with parking, easy accessibility, which was important for our customers. This gave us the opportunity to create the best representation of Staples as The Working and Learning Company.”
“Two big things about this store: Community based (co-working, services and a cafe as part of the design) and bringing together solutions with new brands, new innovative products, services and content which will allow people to be more successful in their learning lives.”
The store is housed in a former industrial manufacturing facility for the DECIEM brand, which operated there from 2015 to 2019 before exiting. Plans for this location were in process before the COVID-19 pandemic hit.
“This is a continuation of the strategy that we started three years ago as a company. What the pandemic has done has convinced us that we were on the right track. The notion of opening more co-working, we’re starting to see the co-working spaces that we have fill up with people who are in this hybrid model.”
“The sets of products and services that people need to work from home – we’ve just accelerated and made sure that we have the assortment in our stores so that our customers can be successful. It is not a change from our strategy – its just getting better and more relevant, and more exciting, and more inspirational for Canadians.”
Corktown has a number of features built in, including technology for stock availability and information. It also connects customers to a broader set of products in the system that may not be on site.
“One of our strengths as a company is we have an unmatched last-mile distribution network”, shared the Staples Canada CEO. “We deliver next day across Canada. We own our own fleet of vehicles. I’m incredibly proud of how our team delivered through the pandemic. We did not lose a beat and we did not have issues.”
Mos Mos has continued its in-store cafe partnership with Staples Canada after a successful launch at the University Avenue location.
“Wherever we have created one of these store concepts, we have wanted to introduce a cafe. Our customers love it. We’ve been looking for local business partners because that is the lifeblood of the Canadian economy and its who most of our customers are.”
“Mos Mos was in our University Avenue location. Very successful and our customers love it. When this opportunity came up, we had a conversation and they were keen to be part of it. They love the location and wanted to be in this part of town.”
“This is a great marriage between a set of local entrepreneurs who care deeply about product and about the experience. In fact, you have to check out the cookie. Created specific for this location and inspired by the food that was consumed locally. We just love them.”
The Corktown location is the sixth Staples Studio location and the first with a second-floor patio with a stage for future Spotlight talks and community events.
Other highlights at Staples Corktown include:
- Solutionshop: Assisting locals with enhanced services that include tech services, graphic design, marketing solutions, shipping, print services and much more.
- Murals by Local Artists: The Corktown Store is flanked with murals from Pascal Paquette and Zuna Amir, bringing joy and wonder to the in-store experience, making a creative mark on the Corktown community and supporting local artists.
- Technology throughout: The store will feature an interactive workspace experience, including a six-foot touchscreen that can help customers build an effective work from anywhere space in their homes.
We asked Boone about the next steps and what Retail Insider readers would be hearing from the company in the future.
“You’re going to see us continue to update our retail network. You’re going to continue to see us bring more solutions to market to help people with hybrid work, cleanliness, safety and wellness. We have lots of opportunity in gaming and learning and creativity. You’re going to see a lot more of that from Staples.”
“We have a major push to serve Canadian businesses a better way. So we have a membership program – we brought together our B2B business with our retail business and we are doing everything that we can to make sure that Canadian businesses are successful for the next few years. You’re going to hear a lot more about B2B business from us.”
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