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Foot Locker Expands Power Store Concept in Canada with 1st Suburban Location: Interview/Photos

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The new Foot Locker Power Store has opened in Markham north of Toronto, and the location is emphasizing the importance of not just selling, but community engagement. The newly opened store is focusing on listening to what consumers need to improve their shopping experience and to be more involved within the Markham community.  

“Markham will be the first one where we will really be entrenched into the community versus a high tourist area, so it is really exciting for us,” says Johnathan Robillard, the VP for North GEO at Foot Locker.

The Power Store is located at 179 Enterprise Boulevard in Markham where it will is the third store of its kind to open in Canada.  The other two Power Stores are in Toronto and Vancouver. The location of Markham was based on the growing community.

Click image for interactive Google Map
Photo: Xandrae Ramdeem

“Markham is one of the fastest growing communities just outside of Toronto and where our store is located is on the tip of three different towns coming together so when we looked at that, we really thought about where our consumer was going.  So that is definitely why we have targeted this area,” says Robillard.

The Markham store will create a new shopping experience for customers as it has 5,560 square feet of retail space, a Call ‘N Collect window, and a digital screen for customers to view the store’s menu and to provide community updates.

“The nice part of when we do a power store is we get to choose the best of everything we offer,” says Robillard. “So, this store will have offerings for Men, Women, and children which sometimes you don’t see in every Footlocker. Here you are going to have everything.”

Photo: Xandrae Ramdeem
Photo: Xandrae Ramdeem

NEW TECHNOLOGY

Call ‘N Collect Window

The Call ‘N Collect Window will be a way for customers to easily access items they would like to purchase without having to go in the store.

“If we were both standing at the store, you would see so many other unique foods, restaurants, drinks that are there, and we really took inspiration from the drive through window,” says Robillard. “The customer could be outside waiting for an item, or they can just come up to the window and ask for the items they are looking for and pay contactless.”

Customers can call ahead their order, pay, and talk to an associate if they have any questions regarding an item.

Digital Screen

Available by the second week in May, the digital screen will allow customers to see the menu of the store, information such as hours, social media campaigns, vendor campaigns, and the screen will also show community events.

“It is not just about the sales,” says Robillard. “We will make it specific to the community. Maybe it is an update on the baseball team or the local soccer team and how they are doing. It shows a way where we can highlight what is happening. It will definitely be a way where the consumer can purchase, but also a way for us to engage with the community.”

Other new additions will be to provide free Wi-Fi to associates and customers and a mobile pay option for customers so they can avoid the cashier lineup.

Photo: Xandrae Ramdeem
Photo: Xandrae Ramdeem

Local Brands and Artists

The new Power Store also includes local brands and artists. One of their local brands is Crane Apparel, a business based in Markham. The store is now carrying Crane Apparel’s Spring collection as well as its basketball collection.

The Power Store will also be representing the Markham community with art.

“This is something we are trying to do throughout the country. Montreal is going to feel different than Toronto, and Toronto is going to feel different than Vancouver. We are trying to not only represent the artists that are there locally, but also what the consumers who are there are looking for,” says Robillard.

The art will be consisting of themes of Markham: the heritage, uniqueness, the greenery, sports, and will even have artwork that will pay tribute to Markham roads and highways.

During the opening weekend, Foot Locker had exciting events including music, face painting, food trucks, a local basketball team visit, and they will have someone explaining to customers about the Power Store and the new technologies available.

Covid-19 has made it aware what people want. “Covid highlighted that the consumer does want to interact, and we saw that here in Canada,” says Robillard. “Everyone has the option to shop online, but there is still that desire to connect and be together in a common place.” The Power Store in Markham will do exactly this, it will be a place for customers to easily shop the way they want to while keeping in touch with the Markham community.

Article Author

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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