Calgary-based Kent of Inglewood is looking to further expand its store base. The relatively new retailer has seen such tremendous success that in less than three years of operations, it is looking to already open its fourth location. The company also has a refreshing sense of humour which has helped expand its customer profile, with a fun in-store experience that cannot be replicated online.
Founded by Kevin Kent in 2013, Kent of Inglewood sells straight razors and shaving accessories, and has even expanded into selling axes, fly fishing rods, canoe panels, cocktail gear, pocket knives, toboggans and other 'manly' items that reflect 'Canadiana'. According to its website, "every man should have an excellent axe, a stiff cocktail, and a perfect shave", following with "Kent of Inglewood is a 100 year old store that opened it’s doors in 2014. Our passion is classic shaving, cocktails, axes, and all things fantastic".
Mr. Kent explained how he founded Kent of Inglewood almost by accident. Customers at his knife retail operation, Knifewear, began asking about straight razors. Mr. Kent managed to locate the only Japanese blacksmith creating these, and brought the product to Calgary. Customers soon asked for shaving accessories such as soaps, combs, pomade, colognes and oils, which led to the creation of a small grooming shop at the back of the knife store. The concept took off and because of customer overcrowding at the back of Knifewear, Mr. Kent decided to open a dedicated Kent of Inglewood shave shop in a retail space across the street.
Appreciating the blacksmith craft, Mr. Kent located a Swedish handmade axe manufacturer, and became its biggest customer. Demand saw Mr. Kent expand the store's product offerings as described above, creating something of a 'curated men's department store' as he calls it.
Founded in Calgary's trendy Inglewood area, Kent of Inglewood soon expanded to open stores in Edmonton and Ottawa. The Edmonton store is located on trendy Whyte Avenue in Old Strathcona, and the Ottawa store is on Bank Street in the city's Glebe neighbourhood. Vancouver is next for Kent of Inglewood, and Mr. Kent is currently seeking retail space for at least one store in that city.
Mr. Kent discussed the fact that he'd like to see his concept grow into a national chain of stores. The concept is 'fun' and to differentiate from e-commerce, Kent of Inglewood hosts in-store parties and encourages customer interaction with its products. Kent of Inglewood seeks street-front retail space in the 1,000 to 1,500 square foot range in larger Canadian cities.