Browns Shoes Opens Impressive Flagship Store at Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre [Interview/Photos]

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Originally founded in 1940 by Benjamin Brownstein as a single store on Ste- Catherine Street in Montreal, Browns Shoes continues to expand its footprint across the country with more and larger stores.

The latest addition to the retailer’s portfolio is a new flagship location at the Yorkdale Shopping Centre in Toronto.

Eric Ouaknine

“We’re quite proud of this one, our design team really outdid themselves,” said Eric Ouaknine, Senior Director of Retail for Browns Shoes.

“The new store is close to 6,000 square feet and boasts a massive facade that’s 87 feet wide and 37 feet high. It’s a very imposing store.”

“It’s a major flagship for us in arguably the number one shopping centre in North America. The new store is bigger, wider, and brighter than its predecessor.”

Photo: Browns

Ouaknine also said that this location includes a water bar where flat and sparkling water is served, an Endless Aisle Station where customers can browse the full collection in case there’s something they can’t find in-store, and a 20-foot video wall and a sound system.  “Shoppertainment” is the goal, he said.

“The store is very customer-experience driven. In designing this store, our objective was to give people an experience they’re going to want to come back for, and tell all their friends about,” shares Ouaknine.

Currently there are 70 Browns Shoes stores in the country with the recent opening of a store at the McArthurGlen Outlets in Vancouver. This includes nine stores under the B2 banner.

“We have two major B2 locations with all new, exciting concepts currently under construction. One is a 4,300 square foot location at Yorkdale and the other is a 5,700 square foot location at CF Carrefour Laval. Both will be opening in Spring 2023,” says Ouaknine.

“This was probably our biggest year ever in terms of store construction. We developed and built 14 stores this year. Including renovations, expansions, and new stores.”

Photo: Browns

Next year, Ouaknine says his team is looking to do another 10-12 locations, including an expansion of the retailer’s Metropolis at Metrotown location near Vancouver and a new store at Conestoga Mall in Kitchener – both of which are under construction and slated to open in Spring 2023.

“The team has certainly been busy.”

After more than eight decades in business, Ouaknine says the brand is unique in the Canadian landscape.

“I think our selection of highly curated brands is quite distinctive. Many of the brands we carry are exclusive to us.

“If you look at the footwear market in Canada, there’s nobody like us. 

And then you layer on our industry-leading customer service, which is a big part of our DNA – we’re poised for success and couldn’t be happier to share it with our growing customer base.”

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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  1. I mean it certainly is bigger!
    It however looks exactly like every other browns store I have seen for the past 15 years, dated, over saturated with product and over priced.
    Sorry Browns… we used to have a better offer in this store and more approachable employees.

    Congratulations on your bigger footprint and I wish you further success in the future.


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