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Swedish Brand ‘Thule’ to Open 1st Canadian Storefront in West Vancouver [Interview]

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Vancouver-based Rack Attack is opening Canada’s first location for a branded store for Swedish-based Thule, a global designer and manufacturer of roof racks and carriers, and it will be located in the Park Royal Shopping Centre in the West Coast city.

Alexander Welbers

The store, which will open in December, is the second branded Thule store in North America with the first one in Denver, Colorado, which opened in June.

“We have worked with Thule for 25 years at Rack Attack, and we’re proud to be continuing this venture together as their dedicated partner to operate the Thule brand stores in North America,” said Alexander Welbers, CEO of Rack Attack.

“We successfully opened the first store in Denver, Colorado, and look forward to Canada’s first store opening. Our position as the leading rack retailer with the extensive market knowledge and expert advice on Thule’s entire portfolio of products will set the foundation for success with Thule to serve customers in West Vancouver and future locations in the U.S. and Canada.”

Rack Attack began in Vancouver more than 25 years ago. The first store was in Vancouver in 1996 which was near the company’s flagship location now in the Olympic Village. The same summer the company opened a store in Toronto and continued further expansion in Canada and the United States.

By the end of this year, the company will have 30 locations as it will be opening up three more stores including the Thule store in Vancouver.

Rack Attack is a specialty retailer that sells and installs automotive racks and hitches.

The new Thule retail store will offer local Canadian customers a first-of-its-kind shopping experience by showcasing all of Thule’s product categories in one space.

Welbers said the Thule store will be conveniently situated among other top outdoor and active brands. The 2,000 square- foot space will give visitors the opportunity to explore the entire breadth of Thule’s active lifestyle portfolio and will build awareness of newer categories.

Hilary Hartley

“Continuing the momentum after a successful summer with our new Thule Store Denver, we are excited to continue growing our partnership with Rack Attack,” said Hilary Hartley, President, Region Americas, Thule Group.

“Our first store in Denver is proving that the formula of best in class products, together with a passionate and highly-trained staff, is a winning combination we want to expand on and bring to our Canadian customers starting in the Vancouver region.”

Welbers said Park Royal is one of the prime retail shopping centres in Canada.

“And it’s right in the heart of our customer community. Very outdoor, lifestyle driven people that like to go skiing in the winter and biking or water sport activities in the summer,” said Welbers. “So we love that area. Vancouver is our home base. We have two Rack Attack stores in Vancouver and now we add the first Thule store in Canada to our Vancouver mix as well.

“Thule is definitely one of the prime sport and outdoor brands. We’ve sold and partnered with Thule for 25 years since we started doing business. So there’s a long, very positive partnership that we have with Thule. That’s why Thule basically decided to give us the right to operate the official Thule stores in North America, in Canada and the US.

“We’re planning to go into several other Canadian and American markets over the next years wherever outdoor and active lifestyle driven people are living. It’s a good market for us.”

The Vancouver store will feature Thule’s well-known vehicle accessory products for bike, water, and snowsports, as well as award-winning products from their newer categories, including child carriers and strollers, premium luggage, innovative daypacks, hiking & backpacking packs, and durable rooftop tents.

The Thule brand was established in 1942. Its products are sold in more than 140 countries.

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary, has more than 40 years experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist, and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, faith, city and breaking news, and business. He is the Senior National Business Journalist with Retail Insider in addition to working on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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