Mark’s Launches 2 New Retail Chains in Canada Focused on Industrial Workers [Interview]

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Retailer Mark’s, under the Canadian Tire Corporation umbrella, is launching two new brand concepts – industrial-exclusive retail destinations called Mark’s WorkPro and L’Equipeur Pro. 

The four stores to be launched this year will cater to the needs of work gear customers and the “design ethos” behind the outlets revolves around enhancing convenience for industrial patrons, said the company.

“These stores are meticulously crafted to cater to the exacting needs of our industrial clientele,” said PJ Czank, President, Mark’s. “Our team remains steadfast in our commitment to enriching our customers’ lives, and simplicity plays a pivotal role in achieving this goal. 

‘The WorkPro and L’Equipeur Pro locations are poised to offer industrial customers an expansive, dedicated selection of work gear, all within an expedited and efficient shopping environment.”

Mark’s WorkPro (Image: Mark’s)

The inaugural Mark’s WorkPro and L’Equipeur Pro store has officially opened its doors at 5004 98 Ave NW, Edmonton, conveniently situated just minutes away from Edmonton’s renowned ‘Refinery Row’. In addition to this landmark opening, 2023 will witness the debut of store locations in St. Catharine’s and Etobicoke, Ontario, as well as Pointe-aux-Trembles, Quebec.

“It’s noteworthy that every Mark’s WorkPro and L’Equipeur Pro store is strategically positioned in close proximity to local industries and skilled trade workers, underscoring the brand’s dedication to serving its core audience,” said the company.

“The product assortment in each Mark’s WorkPro and L’Equipeur Pro store is curated to the specific local market and the unique industrial needs of the community. The stores will curate an assortment of industry leading owned and national brands, featuring names like Dakota, Carhartt, and Timberland Pro.

“Designed to align with the demands of industrial customers, these stores embody the essence of simplicity – enabling customers to swiftly access the essentials they require and promptly resume their tasks. The incorporation of features such as Buy Online, Pick Up In-Store (BOPIS) lockers further bolsters this straightforward shopping strategy.”

“We have recognized a fulfilling need for a more targeted and a more specific environment with highly-knowledgeable team members focusing on the blue-collar customer who can come into the store, get what they need for the job they have to do and leave as quickly and efficiently as possible,” said Czank.

“Time is money for these customers. We recognize that. So smaller stores. Highly industrialized areas. With assortments basically curated to the type of industry that the blue-collar professionals are in.”

He said the new concept will be located in areas where there is a high density of either industrial growth or construction, longer-term construction plans. It allows people to get what they need quicker rather than going to a mall or to an environment where they may not be as comfortable running in from a job site.

“These stores are located in sections where we don’t have existing stores, where it makes it more convenient for a blue-collar customer to come in from the job site, get there and get back to work as quickly as possible,” said Czank.

Mark’s WorkPro (Image: Mark’s)

He said the retailer will start with the four stores and learn from their experiences.

“We’re going to do the four stores for this year. We’re going to give them 12 months to see what the potential is and then we’ll grow from there. A lot of work has gone in to find exactly where the right locations are. And I think that’s probably going to be the key driver for how many stores we can open,” said Czank. “I don’t want to put a number on it yet. I think the four is a good start. We’re geared up for more as we need to but I think we’re probably going to wait 12 months to make sure we really know the customer proposition here and we’ll grow from there.”

He said the new stores are about 4,000 to 5,000 square feet. A typical Mark’s is on average about 13,000 square feet but Czank said all the new regular Mark’s stores that are opening are between 20,000 and 30,000 square feet.

The company will be opening a few new Mark’s locations next year.

There are more than 380 Mark’s stores.

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. Mario was named as a RETHINK Retail Top Retail Expert in 2024.

7 COMMENTS

  1. All I need to know is this…
    During the pandemic, when most stores were closed, but ‘essential’ services were allowed to stay open, Mark’s was deemed general fashion (not enough workwear) and told to close.
    Orders were fulfilled via click and connect, which was convenient since for years prior, we were told to push customers to the website to compensate for empty shelves and broken stock levels.
    Not.
    A.
    Workwear.
    Store.
    That is what they rebranded as . . .

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