RYU began opening stores in November of 2015, when it launched a flagship at 1745 W. 4 Avenue in Vancouver’s Kitsilano area. A second Vancouver store, measuring 1,100 square feet, opened in November of 2016 at 805 Thurlow Street, just off of Robson Street.
The 3,967 square foot Park Royal retail space includes RYU’s apparel for men and women, as well as accessories and an extensive assortment of multi-use bags. The store was designed by architect Tony Robins with the same industrial-modern aesthetic look as RYU's award winning flagship Kitsilano store. Western Canada's largest retail fabricator, Vancouver-based Peregrine engineered and manufactured store fixtures most of the store's fixtures. Jeri Brodie of Aurora Realty Consultants represents RYU as broker in Canada.
Toronto will be the next market for RYU — this summer, the company will open a 2,200 square foot store at 361 Queen Street West. The company’s first enclosed mall store will also open this year at Metropolis at Metrotown, east of Vancouver.
RYU’s stores are a way to engage consumers and educate them about the brand, according to RYU’s senior vice president of retail and operations, Brett Pawson. Larger stores will have space available for community events, product launches and other social activities that connect the consumer with the brand. Physical spaces are also social spaces, creating connections to consumers, athletes, and the neighbourhoods in which stores are located.
Mr. Pawson said that the company is in talks to secure retail space in New York City, with a goal of expanding into the United States in 2018. Expansion will be calculated while RYU continues to perfect its concept as well as gain consumer awareness — the company anticipates to open three locations in 2018 and another six-to-eight stores in 2019, with a goal of eventually operating in excess of 100 stores globally by the year 2025.
Originally founded in Portland, Oregon, RYU or 'Respect Your Universe', is an athletic tech-style apparel brand engineered for the fitness, training and performance of the multi-discipline athlete. Marcello Leone, son of the founders of Vancouver-based multi-brand luxury retailer Leone, took the company over in 2014 and spearheaded an overhaul which saw its headquarters moved from the United States to Canada, choosing his hometown of Vancouver to be its new corporate address. RYU's intention is to become the world's top multi-discipline performance training and fitness brand, according to Mr. Leone.