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La Maison Simons Opens at CF Fairview Pointe-Claire in Montreal with Plans for Halifax Store: CEO Interview/Photos

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Simons is reinforcing its presence in the Greater Montreal area with the opening of a West Island branch at CF Fairview Pointe Claire.

The retailer said the new 91,000-square-foot location required an investment of $26.5 million and created nearly 200 jobs.

And Retail Insider has learned that Simons has also secured a location in Halifax for future expansion.

Bernard Leblanc, President and CEO of La Maison Simons, said he will be able to discuss the company’s Atlantic Canada presence more in a few months from now.

New Simons store at CF Fairview Pointe Claire (Image: La Maison Simons)
Simons on Level 2 of CF Fairview Pointe-Claire, floor plan via Cadillac Fairview

“We have confirmed a new location in Halifax a few weeks ago. So we’ve announced that to our internal teams and we’re really at the embryonic phase of that project but that will complete our coast to coast presence,” he said. 

“So more to come on Atlantic Canada in the next few months.”

Leblanc said the latest Montreal store secures the retailer’s presence in the west side of the city.

“Consumers are now in hybrid mode and are seeking an omnichannel offering that is accessible both in-store and online,” he said.

Bernard Leblanc, President and CEO of La Maison Simons at the New Simons store at CF Fairview Pointe Claire (Image: La Maison Simons)
Women’s ‘Twik’ department at the CF Fairview Pointe-Claire store. Photo: La Maison Simons

“While online shopping has grown tremendously in recent years, the resurgence of in-store sales is a clear indication that consumers want to enjoy a hybrid shopping experience and the in-store experience remains essential. That is why we are confident we made the right choice in opening this new location.”

A native of the West Island, Leblanc is opening his first store since being appointed to lead the company by Peter Simons in March.

“In Montreal, which has been and continues to be a successful market for us, we were present north, south, east and central with the downtown store. There was a big piece missing in the demographics of Montreal in the west side. This was something we had been thinking about and working on for some time. It was slowed down by the pandemic and then at some point where we saw we had confidence to exit the pandemic positively we re-activated this project but it’s been many years in the making to complete,” said Leblanc.

“As we deploy our brand across the country we’ve had a constant vision to offer our entire assortment and it’s no different here where we’ve brought that unique mix of our exclusive brands along with the national brands and the international brands and the discovery brands that make our Simons offering what it is.

Peter Simons at the New Simons store at CF Fairview Pointe Claire (Image: La Maison Simons)
Men’s ‘Le 31’ Department at Simons CF Fairview Pointe-Claire. Photo: La Maison Simons

“And like in any market we’re going to let the customer guide us. They’ll tell us what they appreciate and we’ll adapt from there. But the intent is consistency in each of our stores and this store is no different. We’ve invested to make this store unique in the presentation. For every location we want to work with the canvas that’s been given to us. The architecture, the design, the layout is optimized for this specific location. So there’ll be discovery in terms of the decor and the textures that you’ll discover but the assortment will be the consistent assortment that people have gotten to know from Simons.”

Leblanc said CF Fairview Pointe Claire is the major mall in the West Island of Montreal.

“As a complement to our investment, there’s a lot of development investment that’s happening. There’s the REM (the new Réseau express métropolitain, a new automated light metro network) station for the west end that’s right next to the store. So a great mass transit play as well for the long term,” he said.

“There’s some redevelopment that’s going to happen between the west end of Fairview through to what’s called Saint-Charles Boulevard where there’s new multi-use projects that are going to evolve out of that as well. As you know from the Simons family, we’re always invested for the long play but in this context even better that there’s that future development that’s coming. So very bullish on what this site will become and the future for us in Fairview Pointe Claire.”

New Simons store at CF Fairview Pointe Claire (Image: La Maison Simons)
Artwork in the new store. Photo: La Maison Simons

The last Simons new store opening was in Ottawa about five years ago.

The retailer said several works of art punctuate the customer journey in the new Montreal location, including a monumental work by Vancouver artist Brendan Tang. Pareidolia, a set of clouds suspended above the staircase in the north lobby, draws attention and contributes to the volumetry of the space. Pareidolia joins several works that decorate the walls and ceilings of the Simons stores, including Walter Crane’s La Coupole de Saint-Amand-les-Eaux, Guido Molinari’s luminous kaleidoscope, Solstice, and ceramist Pascale Girardin’s Au Pied des Grumes, to name but a few, said the company.

La Maison Simons was founded in 1840 by John Simons in Quebec City. Originally a dry goods store, the family company is known today for accessible and inspired fashion. 

The new store has a three-storey fully glazed north entrance vestibule. It has a two-storey mall entrance facade with direct access to Level 2 and view of Level 3. It also has a central skylight illuminating Levels 2 and 3 in the centre of the shop. 

Additional Images from the New Simons store at CF Fairview Pointe Claire

Bernard Leblanc, image: Simons
New Simons store at CF Fairview Pointe Claire (Image: La Maison Simons)
New Simons store at CF Fairview Pointe Claire (Image: La Maison Simons)
New Simons store at CF Fairview Pointe Claire (Image: La Maison Simons)
New Simons store at CF Fairview Pointe Claire (Image: La Maison Simons)
New Simons store at CF Fairview Pointe Claire (Image: La Maison Simons)

Article Author

Mario Toneguzzi
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 News Editor with Retail Insider in addition to working as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training.

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