Wolfe Co Apparel, a Canadian based company, has opened its first flagship store last year in Huntsville after being a mobile store traveling across Ontario for five years.
The store features all made in Canada products and after some difficulty trying to get the store ready, it is experiencing the first summer wave of customers.
“We were hoping to open before the pandemic, of course it threw a bit of a wrench in our plans, but we are excited this is finally our first summer where we can experience proper foot traffic and proper in store shopping. It is exciting for us, and it feels like a renewing experience just because last year was still very much up in the air and shopping in stores was not back to normal yet,” says Brit Powell the founder and CEO of Wolfe Co Apparel.
A Retail Store on the Road
Before opening the store, Powell said the team renovated a one-bedroom RV into a retail store where they traveled around Ontario for five years selling products.
“We started as a mobile retail store, and we travelled Ontario for five years. We were able to get a feel for our customer base, where sales were good, and where there was interest. From there we were able to put together our information to make an informed decision about where we wanted to open a store.”
Open seven days a week, the new flagship store is located at 38 Main Street in Huntsville Ontario where it has 4,000 square feet of retail space. Powell said she decided to open in Huntsville as it was the strongest of the Muskoka towns and showed the most potential for growth.
Old Bank Vault Switches into Changing Rooms
Before Wolfe Co, the building was originally a bank and Powell said she decided to keep the main structure, including the vault which has been renovated into changing rooms.
“It is the town’s original bank building, and we still have the original vault on the main floor and in the basement, so it is cool and historical. It is eye catching and we have maintained the vault door and converted the vault into change rooms, so people do come in to just have a look at the vault and experience the bank.
Powell said it is important to the brand to keep the integrity of the building and the history around it, even after renovations she said they have kept a lot of the main structure of the old bank.
Made in Canada
All its products are all made in Canada and are designed by Powell. Customers can find unisex clothing, homeware, footwear, and other accessories.
“I design all the products myself and we have them all manufactured in Toronto or Vancouver. Everything we do is made in Canada so whether it’s the labels, or the printing going on the tags, it all happens locally. With globalization it is easy for people to outsource for cheaper prices, and we are just trying to bring things back home.”
Powell said the bonus of being local is supporting the domestic economy and reducing the store’s carbon footprint, which is the main idea of Wolfe Co – being local, helping the community, and staying sustainable.
Comfortable, Functional, and Fashionable
Wolfe Co has made sure its products are comfortable, functional, and fashionable for customers and Powell said she gets inspiration from the outdoors. As Wolfe Co has grown, Powell said she is trying to make sure her products are functional and stylish, especially for the winter months in Canada.
“A lot of what we do has a functional aspect to it as well, because it is a Canadian brand, and we understand that the Canadian environment requires a certain practical element such as keeping warm in the winter. As we have grown, we have tried to include more functionality into our clothing and part of that contributes into a more practical fabric, we need to look at the function in addition to making it comfortable and fashionable.”
The Huntsville location will be the homebase for Wolfe Co, but Powell said she would like to see it expand – but not too much.
“We get a lot of people who are surprised we don’t have other locations and the goal is to open more stores across Canada, but we don’t want to have too many stores as the idea is to keep it quite niche and small just to maintain that community aspect. Everything we do is about supporting locals so to expand too greatly would go against what the brand is all about.”
As Wolfe Co wants to be more involved within the Huntsville community, its main goal right now is to be as connected as possible, including connecting with local sports teams and building relationships with its customers. As it has only been open for a year, Powell said she is trying to find the store’s role in the community.
“We have only been open for a year, so we want to reach out to different brands and different organizations in the town. My attention will go towards connecting with different sport teams to create a relationship with them in the town and try to be involved in the town as much as possible and really work on the community aspect of the brand. “
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