The Anatomy of a Store: Retail Insider Tours the New KITH Flagship on Toronto’s Yorkville Avenue with Design-Builder SAJO

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Retail Insider recently had the opportunity to tour the new KITH store at 78 Yorkville Avenue in Toronto with one of the heads of the design-build firm that brought the project to life. The stunning new KITH space sets a benchmark for luxury retailers in Canada in terms of retail design and quality materials.

Jon Guerrera, SAJO

SAJO’s Jon Guerrera explained how each of KITH’s stores are different, sticking to the retailer’s ethos of being unique while creating engaging experiences. Part of that experience is creating an impressive space to house merchandise within the 11,000 square foot store which took about nine months to build out, according to Guerrera. Porto Architecture designed the space.

The tour began with lunch at Sadelle’s, a restaurant concept from New York City that is part of the new KITH space. KITH is one of the pioneers of integrating food and beverage into fashion retail. Jon Guerrera talked about the store build-out over lunch, describing the store’s ample use of marble, wood and other high-quality materials. Also included in the restaurant area on the second floor is KITH Treats, which is an ice cream/cereal bar concept developed by KITH’s founder Ronnie Fieg.

Second level entrance to Kith Treats/Sadelle’s restaurant at the new Kith store at 78 Yorkville Avenue in Toronto. Photo: Kith
Second level Kith Treats/Sadelle’s restaurant at the new Kith store at 78 Yorkville Avenue in Toronto. Photo: Kith
Second level Kith Treats/Sadelle’s restaurant at the new Kith store at 78 Yorkville Avenue in Toronto. Photo: Kith

Large brass doors lead to the separated food and beverages space, which features plush light blue velvet seating, walnut wood and ample use of Rosa Aurora marble flooring which is also found in washrooms nearby. White Mountain Danby marble from Vermont was also used on dining tables, the dining bar, and the coffee/service counter.

After lunch, the tour took us to an expansive footwear area in the store with brass and ash wood shelving showcasing a wide range of sneakers and other styles. Greenery is showcased in large planter areas at the centre of the footwear floor, while a collection of books and other items are found near a dedicated wood/stone paneled cash desk area. Children’s clothing and other items are on display upstairs, featuring a range of styles that appear to be for miniature adults.

Second level of the new Kith store at 78 Yorkville Avenue in Toronto. Photo: Kith
Second level of the new Kith store at 78 Yorkville Avenue in Toronto. Photo: Kith
Second level of the new Kith store at 78 Yorkville Avenue in Toronto, including kid’s fashion area. Photo: Kith

High-quality stone was used throughout the second-floor space, including Travertino Bianco flooring in the sales area as well as Alba Chiara marble used on perimeter millwork and a niche. Emerald quartzite was used on the second floor as border tile in the sales area as well as a perimeter millwork niche and point of sales counter area, as well as with a free-standing display case. The ceiling was created with recessed lighting, and a unique chandelier is featured in the Sadelle’s space. The look is luxurious and high-quality.

A stunning sweeping walnut staircase led us downstairs to the main floor of the store – the curved and dynamic movement of the stairs gives a sense of a free vibe, contrasting the main floor from the second one. The main floor houses edgy and unique ready-to-wear fashions and accessories for both men and women. Again, wood and marble play prominently in the design of the main floor, which is flooded by sunlight with its south-facing windows. Another impressive cash desk area, encased in wood and stone, anchors the space.

Stairway leading to the second level of the new Kith store at 78 Yorkville Avenue in Toronto. Photo: Kith
Street level of the new Kith store at 78 Yorkville Avenue in Toronto. Photo: Kith

Varias Green is a key material on the main floor of the store, including border tile on the sales area flooring, a freestanding millwork display case as well as a perimeter millwork niche and point-of-sale counter area.

Guerrera also toured us through the dressing room area of the store, which is near a dedicated elevator that connects the two floors. One thing visitors will notice is cream-coloured KITH-embossed wallpaper that is also a characteristic in other KITH stores.

The clean and modern design of the store includes ample use of Venetian plaster. White, blue, brown and green are the primary colours used in the interior.

Wood millwork was used throughout the store, chosen to compliment the type of stone used for each floor. Brass was used to elevate the millwork on each level as well.

Street level of the new Kith store at 78 Yorkville Avenue in Toronto. Photo: Kith
Street level of the new Kith store at 78 Yorkville Avenue in Toronto. Photo: Kith

Guerrera noted that SAJO had created a virtual reality experience for the brand and architects as part of the design-build of the Toronto KITH space. He said that seeing the store virtually helped finalize design decisions for all involved.

SAJO was founded in Montreal in 1977 and now does design-build work for luxury and other retailers in markets globally. The company has worked on various projects in Canada, and Guerrera says more will be coming — that includes some of the luxury brand stores at Yorkdale in Toronto and Royalmount in Montreal that will be opening next year, as well as Oakridge Park in Vancouver that will open sometime in 2025.

KITH opened its Toronto location in September in Bloor-Yorkville. The two-level Yorkville Avenue space housed an Anthropologie store that shuttered several years ago. SAJO also built the former Anthropologie store on the site.

The Toronto KITH construction began near when SAJO was completing the beautiful KITH store that opened in the Miami Design District in February. KITH operates 12 other standalone stores globally in the New York City area (four locations), Los Angeles area (two locations), Miami area (two locations) and in Honolulu, Aspen, Paris and Tokyo. The retailer also operates concessions at Bergdorf Goodman in New York City, Hirshleifers in Manhasset New York, and at Selfridges in London.

*Retail Insider worked with SAJO on this editorial content.

Craig Patterson
Craig Patterson
Located in Toronto, Craig is the Publisher & CEO of Retail Insider Media Ltd. He is also a retail analyst and consultant, Advisor at the University of Alberta School Centre for Cities and Communities in Edmonton, former lawyer and a public speaker. He has studied the Canadian retail landscape for over 25 years and he holds Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws Degrees.

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