Browns Shoes Launches Largest B2 Flagship in Montreal as it Picks Up the Pace in Opening New Stores this Year: Interview

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After taking a brief pause during COVID-19, B2 shoes has recently opened a new state-of-the-art flagship store located in the Montreal Eaton Centre.

The expansive two-floor location is just over 11,000 square feet, including a vibrant showroom and a second-level stock room. The in-house designed B2 flagship offers comfortable seating, a hydration station with sparkling water, a state-of-the-art sound system, and a head-turning video wall.

“The Montreal flagship is one the most exciting stores the team has developed to date,” says Eric Ouaknine who is the Senior Director of Retail. “The space is designed to be experience-driven in order to entertain our customers.”

B2 Shoes at Montreal Eaton Centre (Image: Browns Shoes)

To access the Montreal Eaton Centre location, customers can enter through the mall or on Saint- Catherine Street.

Browns and B2 are also working on expanding other existing stores.

Eric Ouaknine

“Now in 2022, we are full steam ahead and making up for lost time,” says Ouaknine. “We are taking the opportunity to expand our footprint as in-store shoppers return.

Ouaknine said at least 12 stores are confirmed for this year.

“As we speak, we currently have three stores under construction, in addition to the three stores that we just opened in the past couple weeks, including the B2 flagship in Montreal, this is an exciting time” says Ouaknine.

B2 Shoes at Montreal Eaton Centre (Image: Browns Shoes)

Right now, there are eight store expansions in the process and some of these will be nearly doubling in size. Some of these stores include:

  • The Browns store in Toronto Premium Outlets has been open for three years and they will be expanding to make it 7,000 square feet – increasing the size by 60 percent.
  • The Browns in Polo Park, Winnipeg is relocating to a larger space and will grow by 50 percent with construction already underway.
  • In Mirabel, outside of Montreal, the new Browns store that reopened last week grew by 50 percent.
  • The B2 store at Fairview Pointe-Claire in Montreal is now expanded to 4,200 square feet.
  • In Toronto, Browns at Yorkdale is building an impressive 6,000 sq ft flagship with 87 feet of frontage

“There are several others in the pipeline that we’re working on across Canada” says Ouaknine.

It will be a busy year ahead for Browns and B2 with new stores opening but they are making customer service a priority.

“Browns has a really unique store concept, like no other in Canada or even North America,” says Ouaknine. “At our core we strive to offer our customers a wide selection of highly curated brands, a lot of which are exclusive, coupled with top notch customer service, in an environment that allows us to entertain them. The goal is to offer our customers an immersive and unforgettable experience — that is really what it’s all about for us.”

Oberfeld Snowcap works with Browns Shoes in terms of negotiating retail leases.

Article Author

Shelby Hautala
Shelby Hautala
Shelby Hautala, based in Toronto, is a new Journalist to Retail Insider. She has experience writing for local newspapers and also internationally for Helsinki Times while she lived in Finland. Shelby holds a Bachelor of Journalism Honours degree from the University of King’s College and a Social Work degree from Dalhousie University in Halifax.

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  1. More good news. Store by store Montreal Centreville, and Sainte Catherine Street in particular, seem to be returning to better health after having been hit hard by the coronavirus shutdowns and subsequent loss of office and institutional workers, students and tourists. That Browns would open such a large flagship store is a vote of confidence in downtown and the street. I don’t believe the office workers will return in the numbers we used to see: the changes brought by the pandemic, technology and remote work are here to stay. But Centreville like downtowns everywhere is evolving with a greater residential emphasis. A genuine lived-in city district could be a better commercial ecosystem that a 9-to-5 office ghetto.


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