Parpar Boutique, a women’s clothing store in Toronto, opened its third location in July of last year, has renovation plans, and wants to continue to expand as it has seen a boom in brick and mortar after Covid.
The boutique was opened by Stephanie Marer and Ariel Benaich, who are siblings, back in 2005 and has since then grown into three locations in Toronto: St. Clair, Avenue Road, and now there is a location in Leaside. Women can find a variety of clothing styles and uniqueness as the owners bring in new styles almost daily.
“Covid actually created a lot more opportunities to open in places that we really wanted to be in. So we pulled the trigger on Leaside at the beginning of last year, and then building up the space took a long time as we also got caught up in the whole material shortage during Covid, so we ended up opening in July of last year and honesty it has been great ever since and we want to focus on opening more locations in trendy neighbourhoods,” says Ariel Benaich.
The new location is at 1569 Bayview Avenue and has all the same products as the other stores, but has a smaller footprint as they realized they did not need large spaces to meet their goals. Its first location in St. Clair is just over 2,000 square feet and Benaich said they always thought they would need stores between 1,500 to 2,000 square feet; however, the Bayview location is 600 square feet and is their favourite so far. The St. Clair location is beneficial to them as it acts as a head office where they receive shipments, but moving forward Benaich said they would like to continue with the smaller footprint stores when looking at expanding.
“We learned from Leaside that we can actually work much better with a smaller footprint. Bayview is our smallest footprint but we invested wisely into a very good designer and she helped us fit everything that we had in all the other stores into this very small space. It keeps our costs down with payroll, rent, and the general costs to run the place, but we really love this smaller footprint more than anything,” says Benaich.
The decision of opening in Leaside was based on deciding on what block, what street, and which side of the street they wanted to be on. Benaich said on Bayview there is more traffic on the East side of the street than there is on the West side and they made the effort to make sure this was the perfect spot for its opening.
“We were pretty selective on which block, street, and side we wanted to be on and we just loved the area. During Covid when everything was closed, we would walk around with our family and it was so nice. We find the customers are lovely, it has a great community feel, and everyone has been supportive – it is just a really nice community with lots going on,” says Stephanie Marer.
Going, Going, Gone
Instead of having the same styles for weeks or months, Parpar Boutique focuses on bringing in new styles daily. For example instead of having a few styles in large quantities, Parpar has a large variety of styles in smaller quantities, this way customers can have more variety but also have to act fast as products tend to sell quickly.
“We don’t sell products that are available all year long. We bring in products almost daily, we like a more limited quantity and bring in 100 different options to choose from and that makes it a bit more exciting,” says Benaich. “We get customers coming in all the time and they want something they saw weeks ago and we will have to tell them it is sold out – and that is how we prefer it. I don’t want to see the same products weeks or months on end as I think it is boring.”
What is Next?
Before Covid, Marer and Benaich said they were just wanting to expand its e-commerce and focus everything there; however, they said they noticed more customers coming into stores after the pandemic. The goal now is to expand their storefronts in Toronto or a location that is an hour drive from the city. Marer and Benaich said they are also looking to renovate their first and second location to look like the Bayview location.
“Like any brand, you evolve and change your look. The look and feel of our bayview location is our favourite and is really fresh. I think it is very much with the times and our goal now is to renovate our existing locations to look the same as our Bayview,” says Benaich.
Any locations in the future will also have the same look, feel, will be under a smaller footprint of around 700-1000 square feet, and will remain on street level as they want to keep the community feel and can build better relationships with consumers.