Canadian Furniture Retailer ‘Urban Barn’ Opening New Stores Including Flagship this Fall [Interview]

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Home decor retailer Urban Barn has opened its latest store in Windsor, Ontario, with plans to open a new flagship store in Vancouver on South Granville in the coming months.

“It’s our mission to help Canadians create homes they love, so we’re excited to be spreading our reach further across the country,” said Linda Letts, President of Urban Barn in a news release. “For people in the Windsor region, this means a personalized shopping experience where they’re welcome to see and feel our products, and more choice in designing a space that reflects their personality.”

The new Windsor store opened in the Walker Road Plaza. The new flagship store to open in South Granville will be located in an area known as a destination for furniture stores. 

Urban Barn Windsor (Image: Urban Barn)
Ainslie Fincham

Ainslie Fincham, Marketing Director of Urban Barn, said the Burnaby, BC-based retailer currently has 54 locations in Canada from Vancouver Island to Quebec. 

“We’re currently located within this area but a little bit away from I think the hub, the more competitive stores. So we’re very excited to be moving up the street and we’re going to be opening this flagship store with a new store design we’ve been working quite hard on for the last couple of years,” said Fincham. “The current location closes at the end of (July). There will be a small gap and then we’ll re-open this fall.

“We don’t have anything else slated for this year but we are definitely doing a lot of research into the Atlantic Canada marketplace as well as the US with potential expansion but nothing confirmed there yet.”

Urban Barn Windsor (Image: Urban Barn)

According to Urban Barn’s website, the company’s history is in its namesake with its first store featuring rustic wooden floors and a barn-style door in a busy metropolitan area. The first store, in 1990 at 12th and Cambie in Vancouver, was opened by childhood friends Craig Stewart and Rick Bohonis from Virden, Manitoba.

Shortly after, Sébastien Fauteux joined the company and today is its General Merchandise Manager, leading the product and design team. He celebrated 25 years with the company in June.

In the 1990s, nine Urban Barn stores opened from BC to Manitoba and in 2001 the first Ontario store opened on Queen Street West in Toronto.

In 2007, the Stern Group became majority owner and in 2010 Letts joined the company as its new President while the original founders retired. 

Urban Barn Windsor (Image: Urban Barn)

“Before I became President at Urban Barn, I was a customer. I loved the products, the experience and the people. Their passion and drive drew me to the company years ago and continue to inspire me today. Together, we’ve grown Urban Barn from an entrepreneurial west coast company to a nation-wide brand,” says Letts on the retailer’s website.

In 2015, it opened its first two stores in Quebec and launched its online presence.

And in 2020, Urban Barn launched a brand makeover with a refreshed look, updated logo and newly designed website.

“We pride ourselves in having a variety of design aesthetics from modern rustic to very contemporary,” said Fincham. “We know that we can’t really hone in being in so many different marketplaces on one design style. So we really pride ourselves in really (different) offerings.

“Being accessible is what we pride ourselves in. We give every customer a warm welcome when they come to the door. We’ve got a lot of locations and we pride ourselves in really accessible price points. So good quality furniture but at an accessible price point.”

Urban Barn Windsor (Image: Urban Barn)

Like many other retailers in the home decor industry, Urban Barn also witnessed an increase in sales in the past two years throughout the pandemic.

“We definitely noticed that. We had our best year to date last year in our 30-year history. We’re still seeing very strong sales this year. So we’re very excited about the engagement in the business that we’re seeing,” said Fincham.

“And we’re definitely seeing a very large growth from the e-commerce perspective as many other brands did as well. A lot of consumers are a lot more comfortable with that online shopping experience.”

Don Gregor of Aurora Realty Consultants is handling lease negotiations for Urban Barn and is a point of contact for landlords and brokers.

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. Mario was named as a RETHINK Retail Top Retail Expert in 2024.

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