This week, upscale Vancouver-based multi-brand retailer Boys'Co celebrates its 30th anniversary. It was recently named “Vancouver’s Best Men’s Independent Store”, and last month it opened a new store location. Following the 2008 recession (in which the effects Boys’Co wouldn’t feel until 2009), the retailer made significant changes to its business, successfully increasing sales.
Boys'Co showcases up-and-coming, established, and hard-to-find designers, catering to the young and 'young-thinking' men. Some brands featured include Y-3 by Yohji Yamamoto, EA7 by Giorgio Armani, Amsterdam’s DENHAM, McQ by Alexander McQueen, Stone Island, PLAY by Comme des Garcons and J Lindeberg, among others.
The retailer operates five Vancouver-area locations. Its newest location at Guildford Town Centre in Surrey opened last month. Its other locations include a recently renovated 2,000 square foot Robson Street flagship, a location at Oakridge Centre, and a store in Metropolis at Metrotown. Adjacent to the Metropolis Boys’Co is its prep concept, IVY ROOM, showcasing all of the Boys’Co higher profile and specially curated brands.
Boys’ Co recently won first place as “Vancouver’s Best Men’s Independent Store” in the Georgia Straight’s “Best of Vancouver 2014 Awards”.
In 1984, Boys' Co stores were conceived by businessman David Goldman, whose family has been in the men’s retail clothing business for three generations. David is the president of the 68 year old company that was started by his father in 1946, as Murray Goldman Men’s Wear. The original West Hastings Street multi-brand retailer became a menswear destination. In 1957, Murray opened the city’s first young men’s store, called 'The Ivy Room'. It catered to the Ivy League look of the 1950's, (think Oxford button down shirts, cardigan sweaters and skinny Levi’s), and was located next to to his iconic Hastings Street store.
David Goldman started his fashion career as a teenager in the 1960’s. While in high school, he worked part-time at his father’s store, Murray Goldman Men’s Wear. After college, David moved to London England, where he worked full time at a young men’s boutique on fashionable King’s Road. He then returned to Vancouver in 1971 to work alongside his father. David's initial responsibilities included operating and buying for their then jean shops, called Bus Stop Stores -- a predecessor to Boys'Co.
Today, Boys'Co has its third generation family member, Sam Goldman, directing operations. Rounding out the management team is Executive General Manager - and almost 30 year company veteran, Michael Roley.
The great recession of 2008/09 saw reduced sales at Boys'Co stores. The retailer hired top retail consulting firm DIG360, which conducted research concluding that changes were required. Traffic counters were installed in stores, providing useful metrics to determine customer shopping patterns. Staff and customers were anonymously surveyed and results were used to modify Boys'Co's retailing strategy. Differentiating the retailer from the competition was key, including introducing a private-label brand, positioned as a premium label unto itself. Mr. Goldman says that along with improvements in merchandising, buying choices and especially associate training and customer experience, Boys’Co has seen vast improvements in all aspects of its business.
Today, Retail Insider's Editor-in-Chief, Craig Patterson, will interview Boys'Co's David Goldman on stage at the Retail Council of Canada's Retail West conference in Vancouver.