Upscale Toronto-based tabletop and giftware retailer Hopson Grace plans to expand its operations after initial success with its first location in Rosedale. The store opened only last year and even though it's new, it's run by two seasoned professionals who bring a wealth of wisdom and experience.
Andrea Hopson (former vice president of Tiffany & Co. Canada) and business partner Martha Grace McKimm (a seasoned public relations executive) opened the store in April of 2015. They both were seeking career changes and had worked together in the past. Their passion for finer things led to a business partnership and when a corner retail space at the southwest corner of Yonge Street and Macpherson Avenue became available, they jumped on the opportunity. The location is ideal, being a short distance from some of Toronto's wealthiest residential areas, including Rosedale, Moore Park, Summerhill, South Hill, and Forest Hill.
The 1,200 square foot store at 1120 Yonge Street features a wide variety of tabletop items at a variety of price points, all artfully displayed in the jewel box-like setting. The store is simple and beautiful, luxurious yet unpretentious. Interiors are of high quality wood, metal and marbles, showcasing product contained within. Toronto-based Burdifilek designed the store.
Hopson Grace (the store's name derives from Andrea's surname 'Hopson' and Martha's middle name 'Grace') features a highly curated merchandise offering with many products that are not only exclusive to Toronto, but in some instances are unavailable elsewhere in North America. The store is the only Canadian distribution point for award winning David Mellor's flatware line, for example, and its artisanal jams from La Chambre aux Confitures are exclusive in North America. Products from Danish silversmith Georg Jensen are beautiful, and one of the most unique lines carried in the store is Jim Lorriman's tableware made from reclaimed wood and cedar from barns in Ontario's Georgian Bay area -- including polished serving plates and salad bowls. Some products tell a unique story, such as Linens from Maison Basque of France, which feature the same stripes and material used in traditional blankets worn by grazing cows.
Ms. Grace and Ms. McKimm take retail one step further with an upstairs event space (also about 1,200 square feet) that can be used for a variety of purposes, from product launches to wine tasting, and can also be rented for private events. They explained how the community has embraced them as a retailer and how engagement helps strengthen these relationships.
Given their backgrounds, Hopson Grace's founders recognize the importance of strong branding and packaging. Shopping bags and boxes are all simple and elegant, and may negate the need for gift wrapping. It's the same strong branding that has Ms. Grace and Ms. McKimm thinking about expanding Hopson Grace into new markets, to continue the sales momentum experienced in its Rosedale store. They explained that although retail space hasn't been chosen, they're looking at markets in Canada, particularly Vancouver, and could even consider another Toronto store, depending on opportunity.
*All photos provided by Hopson Grace.