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ECCO Opens Ossington Ave. Concept Store in Toronto to Test New Ideas [Interview/Photos]

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Danish footwear brand ECCO now has 38 stores in Canada and it has recently opened a new concept store in Toronto where it will be a grounding place for testing new ideas.

Located at 46 Ossington Avenue in Toronto, the ECCO store space is just over 1,200 square feet and is a space where ECCO can have a deeper connection with customers. The store celebrated with its grand opening on October 27th.

“We entered Ossington with the whole idea of creating a community hub. Ossington kept coming up as one of the central locations where there was a lot of energy, a lot of momentum, and a good vibrant consumer that may not be our traditional consumer, but somebody that we want to connect with. There are lots of younger customers in the area and we wanted a space that is eye-catching, engaging, and invites people into the space where they can learn more about the brand, concept, and more about how we are trying to engage in the community. The store is really vibrant, bright, and open to draw the consumer in,” says Joe Devlin, the Commercial Director at ECCO Shoes Canada.

ECCO at 46 Ossington Ave (Image: ECCO)

The new location will be a space where ECCO can connect more with the consumer while also keeping in touch with its Danish heritage.

“We wanted something a little more vibrant, but also true to our heritage and who we are by keeping the feel of minimalist, clean lines, an engaging space, and also modular so we can create an event space for people to connect with the brand. We couldn’t be happier with where we landed with this space and how it has actually come to life”.

ECCO was founded in 1963 in Denmark and has since then grown into a well known international leader in footwear. Today ECCO has 38 stores in Canada and is sold in over 90 markets across the world. Products found at ECCO include a variety of footwear for men, women, and also leather goods.

What Can Customers Expect

ECCO at 46 Ossington Ave (Image: ECCO)

The new store is split into three spaces: the front entrance, design language, and ELU, ECCO’s Leather Good’s Unit. The front entrance is around product and collaboration, the middle section is for connecting with the community as it has artwork displayed from local artists and community designers, and the backspace is where customers can find ECCO’s leather goods and can be turned into an event space.

The Ossington location will also have exclusive products to share with customers.

“The unique proposition this store will offer, is that we will bring in some exclusive products from our global entities, where this will be the only store in Canada that will be carrying some products and will continue to do some exclusive pieces that create energy. This space will also be the biggest leather good space you will see from the brand in the entire country.”

ECCO at 46 Ossington Ave (Image: Dustin Fuhs)

The leather section will be complete with all of ECCO’s bags, backpacks, gloves – “all of our opportunities in leather goods that the consumer might not have been exposed to before”. The leathers offered at Ossington are in a variety of colours, different textures, and premium smooth leathers that are all created at ECCO.

“The ELU department is a large global focus for us to expand globally and we think there is a great opportunity with some of the leather products that we create. We are taking the opportunity to really try and expand this offering and the Ossington store will be the center and the beginning of this phase. This area of our business from an ECCO standpoint has been around for years, we just have been more focused on footwear and nothing is going to be taken away from there, but we are going to be spending more energy and time on developing our consumers’ access to these types of goods.”

Community Engagement

The Ossington store will be a test location on how ECCO can engage with the community. Devlin said the store will be running community events and are looking at programming ideas, including having a night out event where ECCO will provide food and drinks while consumers connect with the brand and understand its Danish history.

The store will also be providing an opportunity for local artists to showcase their art along with ECCO’s products. If these programs work, they will be applied to other stores in Canada and international locations – this will be the testing location for the ELU concept as well as for community engagement.

Future Plans

Customers can expect another store to open in 2024, this will be ECCO’s 39th store in Canada; however, Devlin was unable to disclose the location at this time.

Instead of focusing on expanding the amount of physical stores, Devlin said the company’s plan is to expand within the stores that are already open – meaning building connections with the community and its leather department.

The Ossington location will serve as a testing ground for any new ideas and if they succeed it will be applied to other locations throughout Canada and globally.

“We are really focused on optimizing our Ossington location and making sure we are connecting and drafting off our community concept that we are doing right now.It is a test and growth opportunity and we are looking at where we can make it scalable and look at opportunities where we can expand and go deeper in some of our own locations. For us, the expansion idea comes from building the brand and connecting with the consumer base as opposed to adding more physical stores. Ossington is more about creating an environment for the consumer as opposed to just a shopping environment – which is something we are looking to continue to build upon.”

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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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