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Many assume that smaller city downtowns are either abandoned or at least considerably less-vibrant than local shopping centres. Not so for some communities, however.
Downtown Sherbrooke, Quebec, is a perfect example. Although it’s not as strong as some urban cores, it’s enjoying a retail resurgence, and here are some examples of some terrific local retailers.
Glori.us tarted as a simple multi-brand boutique in 2007, and it has evolved into a retail concept store featuring two shop-in-stores.
The owners, Jean-Francois Bédard and Tanya Cloutier, sought to democratize fashion in their region by encouraging locals to dress as well as those in major centres. What resulted was a 1,500 square foot boutique selling men's and women's fashions, with about 80% of its brands being exclusive to the region (including Tiger of Sweden , Ted Baker, 7 For All Mankind and Lindeberg. New products arrive weekly, keeping customers coming back to check out the new product.
Glori.us sought to diversify its offerings in a similar way to retailer Frank + Oak, and a unique partnership resulted with another innovative, prominent Quebec retailer:
Surmesur X Glori.us Shop-in-Store
Glori.us is home to a shop-in-store location for Quebec City-based custom menswear retailer Surmesur. This is the second Surmesur shop-in-store, following a successful location in Rimouski. Glori.us also offers their own tailoring services with high quality fabrics such as Zegna, and it also plans to soon offer tailoring services to women.
Lunetterie Generale Shop-in-Store
Glori.us partnered with the recently launched optical retailer Lunetterie Générale, opening a 125 square foot boutique offering glasses and sunglasses. The small shop features over 500 frames from brands such as Gentle Monster and Frank Custom. Lunetterie is also launching its own branded frames, and has also partnered with the local Opto Reseau for prescription glasses.
The small boutique’s design is upscale and well executed, featuring marble, dyed wood and gold accents.
After a visit to Glori.us, it’s natural to go next store and grab something to eat at Auguste. I had the opportunity to meet the charismatic and friendly owner, Anick Beaudoin, who has been making downtown Sherbrooke a more vibrant place since 2008.
I could not resist the beef tartare (a favourite of mine), which as delicious. The pulled pork burger with bacon, Jarlsberg cheese and french onions were divine, particularly when finished off with a rhubarb turnover, which is well worth the preparation time.
Even though Danny St-Pierre is no longer the co-owner and chef, the menu still reflects some of his influence. His signature dish which put Auguste on the map, "La Poutine Inversée" (which translates to "the inverted poutine’) is delicious with ever bit. Its simple and classic decor adds to the vibrancy of downtown.
There’s also an association between Glori.us and Auguste — the restaurant will deliver directly to the boutique, for hungry shoppers wanting a nourishing in-store break.