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Engaging Physical Retail Experiences Paramount Despite Rise in Digital: Interview with Nick Iozzo of Ancillary Agency

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Toronto-based Nick Iozzo continues to build his real estate consultancy company The Ancillary Agency through the pandemic and into its recovery.

One of the unique areas the company has been working on is matching the real estate needs of creative agencies, brand storytellers and retailers in finding real estate space for promotional activations and campaigns.

Image: Nick Iozzo

Iozzo said brands are realizing that digital will always have a play in brand storytelling but as COVID restrictions are starting to come down, many retailers and brands are wanting to engage potential customers in person. They want to be where people are. They want to get those types of impressions beyond the digital world.

“If it means an activation in a promo court in a mall, if it means a sampling program in an office tower, if it means aligning their brand with a sponsorship opportunity at a commercial property, we’re there to help match those needs with the availability of inventory within the country,” he said. 

Iozzo said the Agency has been focused on three sectors. One is to help grow ancillary revenue for commercial landlords. Secondly, it works with retailers, agencies and brands directly to help them find real estate for their brand storytelling, any of the campaigns they may be launching. And thirdly, the Agency has been helping businesses grow through business development to reach new customers within the retail and commercial real estate sectors.

33 Bloor Street East (FrontRunner via Epic Investment Services)

“It’s been fantastic. On the landlord side, we’ve been working with Strathallen nationally for their retail portfolio. We are supporting KingSett for their Canadian portfolio and QuadReal’s national office portfolio. DREAM Office REIT for Film Management in Toronto representing their assets in the film community. Crestpoint for their national portfolio of retail, office, and industrial assets,” said Iozzo, adding the company is also working with some smaller independent sites such as Stackt Market in Toronto and RendezViews which is an entertainment centre in Toronto.

“We’ve really been growing and making inroads with a number of large and regional commercial real estate owners,” he said. 

“Also helping on the creative brand storytelling. We’ve been working with brands, direct agencies, to assist them in finding real estate to help them with their campaigns. We have worked with agencies that represent Labatt/Stella, Coca-Cola, Nike and Converse just to name a few. We’ve assisted them on some of their brand activations, events, throughout the country. And that’s been really good because we’re not a creative agency. We leave the creative thinking and the brainstorming to those creative agencies who represent those brands and those agencies either don’t have the connections or the expertise on finding the right piece of real estate. So they partner with us to help them find the real estate to help them execute on the campaigns.”

Another key area is helping entertainment uses expand into different parts of the country.

Image: Stackt Market

The Agency is also supporting Stackt Market with their ancillary revenue projects including pop-up retail, sponsorship, out-of-home media, and experiential activations.

“The three big projects we’re working on now is Canada’s first licenced dog park which has opened. We are working on brand partnerships for this asset. Dyson was one of the first brands we brought in. We are supporting Stackt on their Three-On-Three basketball PlayZone that has opened and we’re looking at the athletic brands, the health and wellness brands that want to be aligned with this sporting product,” said Iozzo.

“And they’ve opened up an organic garden and bee pollinator garden. And so again aligning with brands that want to promote themselves within a sustainability aspect.

“That’s been really exciting for us at Stackt and it’s sort of a site that has been leading within Canada as a first to market and Stackt has always been known as a first to market type venue. We’re really excited to be working with the proprietors there to help evolve their sponsorship and brand activation partnerships.”

Stackt is Canada’s largest shipping container market, established in April 2019 on Bathurst St. Designed entirely out of shipping containers, it is an ever evolving cultural marketplace. The ecosystem features a mix of local and international retailers, a brewery, unique service providers, start-up incubators, and innovative culinary adventures. It is anchored by a strong mandate to support local art, music, social enterprise and cultural communities.

To further expand the offering of services in the retail and commercial real estate sectors, The Ancillary Agency has also formed a partnership with the Savills Retail Toronto team, for clients seeking temporary and permanent leasing solutions and The T1 Agency, to provide sponsorship audit and valuation services.

Iozzo’s previous experience includes time with Canadian corporate giants Oxford Properties Group, Cadillac Fairview, and Rogers Communications.

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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