It is the brand’s largest showroom by far with a reimagined retail experience in 44,000 square feet – about four times what a typical store would be. It also incorporates a cafe featuring in-house dining by award winning Deer + Almond chef Madel Hitzer as well as EQ3’s new concept collection, Palli Home + Company.
“It’s definitely our new flagship location for Canada,” said Mark Letain, President of EQ3. “This is our hometown. Winnipeg is sort of a renowned test market too. It used to be one of the two test markets in North America for new concepts. The idea was if you can make it in Winnipeg, you could probably make it in other cities just because of the conservative nature of the city and the demographics and the socio demographics.
“We were already close to Polo Park, the mall, and that mall Polo Park is a super regional. Probably one of about a dozen in Canada that are considered super regional malls. We were already on the periphery of it – sort of in the parking lot.
“When the Sears location closed (a few years ago) we began to have conversations with Polo Park about moving inside the mall but we were thinking about our original format space. As things progressed over time, we realized they were looking for an anchor tenant. I had some discussions with the ownership and we decided to say ‘hey you know what, why don’t we be that anchor tenant and why don’t we try something different? Why don’t we try a larger format store and really make our foray into experiential retail?”
The retailer has 17 locations with 12 in Canada.
Working alongside Winnipeg-based architectural firm Number TEN, the flagship’s slatted exterior was designed by former EQ3 Creative Director Thom Fougere. The interior was designed by current Chief Design Officer Enri Tielmann.
The company said the alluring new showroom brings to life everything quintessentially EQ3 with the addition of unexpected elements. The architecture and interior of the store pairs references to the Prairies with elements of warmth, incorporating features of herringbone flooring, traditional wainscotting, and pastel millwork.
“The new location also acts as a hub of innovation for EQ3, bringing forward new products and technologies. Three dedicated design centres provide customers and interior designers areas for one-on-one consultation with sales associates and access to all the brand’s fabrics, finishes, rug swatches, as well as 3D visualization software. Digital video walls and QR codes directing customers to detailed product information appear throughout the space to deliver an immersive experience,” said EQ3.
“The EQ3 café, with its monolithic bar design and 40 dine-in seats, anchors the expansive space. The café’s menu, created by internationally renowned chef Mandel Hitzer, features a fresh take on casual dining influenced by local ingredients and California-modern cuisine, complemented by a full bar and unique wine list.”
Peter Tielmann, founder and CEO of EQ3, said the company is taking a holistic approach to transform how people reimagine their homes.
“We’ve created pockets of discovery in the store giving customers space, tools and even nourishment, while they take the time to physically interact with the products and personalize designs,” he said.
“EQ3 is proud to open our first ever Canadian flagship store here in Manitoba and serve the community that has helped shape who we are through the expansive possibilities of this space. Our uniquely Canadian approach to design is deeply inspired by our hometown of Winnipeg, so we’re honoured to share this work with customers, friends, and family at our new showroom.”
The Polo Park store is the only new store the retailer has opened this year and Letain said no new stores are planned right now.
“We’re going to really test this concept out and see how it works because if it works then this is something that we would like to do in other markets with a larger format store. But we’ll see what we learn from this,” he said.
EQ3 is working with new brands, such as Global Trunk, OMY, The Dough Project, QWOO, Alessi, and Silk & Snow, to merchandise its kids, pets, and plants sections of the store, which are unique to the Winnipeg location.
The new flagship also launches EQ3’s new concept collection, Palli Home + Company, of vibrant furniture, rugs and accessories. The line features larger pieces of furniture with an emphasis on functionality and durability. As with the core EQ3 collection, all the upholstery items are manufactured in Winnipeg. The collection will be available at all EQ3 stores and online by early 2022.
“The new Palli Home + Company collection is made for modern living,” said Enri Tielmann, EQ3’s Chief Design Officer. “Designed to create endless solutions for unique environments, the upholstery collection combines modularity and function, complemented with playfulness and ease of care. Sectional configurations can be configured, reconfigured, expanded, reduced and mirrored. All made with materials and craftsmanship of the highest quality featuring sustainable performance covers combined with feather and memory foam comfort.”
EQ3 was established in 2001. Its five US stores are in New York, California, Connecticut, and Chicago.
The company stands for “emotional quotient in three dimension.”
The concept of EQ3 was launched as a wholesale initiative at the High Point Market in North Carolina in 2001 as an extension of a product line of Palliser Furniture. Palliser Furniture Upholstery Ltd. is a furniture manufacturing company headquartered in Winnipeg. It manufactures and distributes upholstery furniture products throughout Canada, Mexico and the United States.