Herschel Supply Co to Open 1st Toronto Storefront with Plans for Expansion in Canada and Beyond [Interview]

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Herschel Supply Co, a Vancouver based travel baggage and accessory store, is opening its first flagship location in Toronto with the plans of further expansion in the city, in other areas in Canada, and internationally.

The company started back in 2009 and has since opened four stores in Vancouver and will now be launching its first location at the Toronto Eaton Centre hopefully by the end of the year as Toronto has always been an important city for Herschel.

“We are trying to place a heartbeat back into the bag industry, to make it an exciting category, and I think our love of art, design, and the creative community we engage with is very reflective of all those things. We want to gather as members of the community, celebrate art, and Herschel makes a lot of awesome products and I think it is an awesome location whether people are just coming in to learn or coming in to consume, it allows them to learn more about our brand and to understand what makes us tick and what gets us excited. We are really excited to go to Toronto and be in the heartbeat of the downtown core,” says Lyndon Cormack the Managing Director and Co-Founder of Herschel.

The flagship store will be just under 3,000 square feet, will have a welcoming vibrant interior, and along with the mall entrance, the store will also have its own street entrance on Queen Street. Cormack said the new location will feature the widest product selection ever seen at Herschel and will be a great location to get people who are unfamiliar with the brand in for an introduction.

Currently behind construction for the CF Toronto Eaton Centre glass skylight roof, the future Herschel Supply Co will take the former Oakley location (Image: Dustin Fuhs)
Future Herschel Supply Co Location at CF Toronto Eaton Centre (Image: Dustin Fuhs)

“We got a lot of introductions to make, and I think one of the best ways to introduce ourselves is in person to really allow people to understand the big picture of what we care about.”

“Typically, we performed well on street locations, and it has that connectivity to the city, but it also has the benefit, especially in a market such as Toronto with hot summers and cold winters, so it allows people to escape that and get into the centre. It was a unique opportunity that allowed us to be on Queen Street but also within the centre to sort of allow us to have the best of both worlds. Toronto Eaton Centre is a great centre for retail in general and whether they are Canadian brands or global brands, it is a place where the next brands in the world congregate.”

Products found at Herschel, with a goal of always being “classic with a modern twist,” ranges from a variety of bags, accessories, apparel, travel items, and youth products including items when traveling with a newborn. Herschel is also known to give back to the community with its backpack donations and supporting local artists.

“We spend time concentrating on ensuring that the store can act much more than just a store. We are having a dedicated space for our Herschel Artists in Residence program which features local artists from the community which flips over at least twice a year. We like our stores in Vancouver they act as community hubs, our stores in Vancouver have had over 20 events this year where we bring the community together. It is exciting and in an important city, we are building an awesome store and we can’t wait for it to open.”

GTA-based BUILD-IT is working with Herschel Supply Co on the projects in Alberta and Ontario.

Jackson Turner of CBRE negotiated the lease deal on behalf of Herschel, and is a point of contact for landlords.

“Exciting Developments Planned”

Herschel Supply Robson Street Flagship (Image: Herschel Supply)

Plans are in place to continue to expand in Canada and internationally. In Canada, Herschel is expanding more in Toronto and in Calgary. As of right now Herschel has four locations in Vancouver, but Cormack said they will be continuing to add stores.

“There will be future stores in Toronto, none have been announced at this time, but they will all have the same goals as the Toronto Eaton Centre: engaging community, allowing our consumers to come in and experience our breadth of offerings.”

In addition to the new Toronto Flagship location, Herschel is also going to be opening its first location in New York City. Herschel has been seen in New York, but only in pop-up locations so this will be the first permanent location across the border. Within the next 16 months the goal for Herschel will be to open numerous stores in New York, both downtown and outside of the city. The first location will hopefully be opening at the same time as the Toronto location, so by the end of the year.

Herschel will also be opening a new store location in Calgary, that will be opening at the end of the year.

Herschel Supply Robson Street Flagship (Image: Herschel Supply)
Herschel Supply Robson Street Flagship (Image: Herschel Supply)

As for any grand opening events for new locations, Cormack said “given an opportunity to have a little party – we will have one and given the opportunity to have a celebration, we tend to celebrate.” So, check back with us as new stores open and grand opening events are revealed.

“We have a lot of exciting developments happening, it is an important chapter in Herschel existence, and this is an exciting time for us. We know stores create halo effects to make our wholesale partners better, our ecommerce business better, and our engagement with our consumer better. We know we are not the first brand to ever open stores, but we witnessed all these amazing brands open stores and just watch what it does for their brands from all channels. We look forward to the halo effect of these stores give us and look forward to greeting people in person and welcoming them into our doors.

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Article Author

Shelby Hautala
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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