Last night we attended the gala opening of Canada's first Nordstrom location, and we've included some photos in this article. The store is stunning. The Calgary store is only the second in the chain to feature the retailers's new store design, which other Canadian Nordstrom locations will follow. The Chinook Centre store opens to the public at 9:30 am tomorrow (Friday, September 19). The following is a description of our first impression of Chinook Centre's Nordstrom, as well as various photos from the gala.
Overall, the interiors of Calgary's Nordstrom are brighter and more contemporary than most of its American locations. Smooth white ceilings characterize much of the store, as opposed to the tiled ceilings and tract lighting common in most American Nordstrom locations. Calgary is the retailer's second location to adopt such contemporary interiors, following the recent opening of a Nordstrom location in suburban Houston, Texas.
The store's flooring is primarily tile, as opposed to carpeting which covers much of Nordstrom's American store locations. Tiled floors allow flexibility to shrink or expand each department with carpeting according to demand. Carpet over the tile can be moved and is held with adhesive, as we demonstrate in the photo below.
Footwear features prominently on the store's ground floor. Prices vary from the affordable to well in excess of $1,000 per pair.
The women's handbags department features a wide variety of designers. Along the wall are shops for Burberry, Valentino, and Chloé. Each shop has its own register.
The store's top-priced womenswear department, Collectors, features designers such as Missoni, Akris Punto, Michael Kors, and St John Knits. As is the case with most departments, it is open and characterized only by carpeting.
The store features ample dressing rooms in various departments. Personal shoppers are on hand to assist customers.
Menswear ranges from the trendy to the professionally conservative. Prices vary. We spied a beautiful Salvatore Ferragamo jacket but decided against the $2,150 purchase price.
The store features artwork from various Canadian artists, especially around dressing rooms and other common areas.
The store's cosmetics department features an open-sell concept. Experts are on hand and, interestingly, are available to assist shoppers for the entire department, not just from one brand.
The store is far more open than Nordstrom's US locations. It's possible to see clear across the store from various departments.
Nordstrom was founded in 1901 as a shoe store and naturally, its footwear selection is exceptional. We couldn't resist buying this pair of patent leather dress shoes. They're from Nordstrom label, Calibrate, and were reasonably priced at at $120.
The store features an upscale full-service restaurant on its second floor, called Bazille. It features bistro cuisine and a full bar. Fresh salads, speciality entrées, signature cocktails, a wine list and house-made desserts are featured. Calgary is Bazille's fourth location, and here's its American menu: [American Bazille Menu, PDF]
The gala saw over 1,800 people attend, and raising over $180,000 for the Alberta Children's Hospital Foundation, as well as the Calgary United Way. Tickets went on sale last summer for $100 each and sold out in exceptional time. The entire cost of the gala was underwritten by Nordstrom, meaning that all proceeds from ticket sales went to these charities.
Anchoring the north end of Chinook Centre, Calgary's Nordstrom spans two floors and measures about 140,000 square feet. It replaces part of the mall's former 172,000 square foot Sears store.
Nordstrom's second Canadian location, measuring 157,000 square feet, opens March 6, 2015 at Ottawa's Rideau Centre. Its 230,000 square foot Vancouver (Pacific Centre) store opens September 18, 2015 and in the fall of 2016, two Toronto stores (Toronto Eaton Centre - 213,000 square feet, Yorkdale Shopping Centre - 191,000 square feet) will open, followed by a third Toronto store (Sherway Gardens - 138,000 square feet) in the spring of 2017.
Next week we'll provide a more in-depth description of each Nordstrom store department, following its Friday grand opening.