Inside Canada's First Nordstrom Store

  Photo: Nordstrom

Photo: Nordstrom

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. 

  The store's escalator well featured modern lighting and, in the daytime, natural light (this photo was taken at 9:30pm)

The store's escalator well featured modern lighting and, in the daytime, natural light (this photo was taken at 9:30pm)

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. 

  Smooth ceilings characterize much of the store. 

Smooth ceilings characterize much of the store. 

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. 

  Carpet can be moved to modify the size and shape of departments. Here, we see carpet held by adhesive. 

Carpet can be moved to modify the size and shape of departments. Here, we see carpet held by adhesive. 

  The store features over 30 styles of Jimmy Choo women's footwear. 

The store features over 30 styles of Jimmy Choo women's footwear. 

Footwear features prominently on the store's ground floor. Prices vary from the affordable to well in excess of $1,000 per pair. 

  Women's handbags include soft shops for Burberry, Valentino and Chloé. 

Women's handbags include soft shops for Burberry, Valentino and Chloé. 

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. 

  Chloé handbag shop

Chloé handbag shop

 'Collectors' department. 

'Collectors' department. 

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. 

  Dressing rooms are clean and spacious. 

Dressing rooms are clean and spacious. 

The store features ample dressing rooms in various departments. Personal shoppers are on hand to assist customers. 

 Menswear.

Menswear.

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. 

  We were surprised to find artwork throughout the store from Canadian artists. 

We were surprised to find artwork throughout the store from Canadian artists. 

The store features artwork from various Canadian artists, especially around dressing rooms and other common areas. 

  Vince is one of many prominent mid-priced women's designers at Calgary's Nordstrom store. 

Vince is one of many prominent mid-priced women's designers at Calgary's Nordstrom store. 

  Thousands of pairs of shoes are available, including a well stocked men's department. 

Thousands of pairs of shoes are available, including a well stocked men's department. 

  Cosmetics department

Cosmetics department

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. 

  Two lovely ladies shop in the store's dress department. 

Two lovely ladies shop in the store's dress department. 

 Open sightlines characterize the store. 

Open sightlines characterize the store. 

The store is far more open than Nordstrom's US locations. It's possible to see clear across the store from various departments. 

  Music and dancing at Nordstrom's Calgary gala.

Music and dancing at Nordstrom's Calgary gala.

 Shoes by Nordstrom private label Calibrate

Shoes by Nordstrom private label Calibrate

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]

  Members of the Nordstrom family as well as Nordstrom's Canadian President Karen McKibben (dark hair), store manager Shelia Wooldridge (blonde hair), and at the centre, Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi.

Members of the Nordstrom family as well as Nordstrom's Canadian President Karen McKibben (dark hair), store manager Shelia Wooldridge (blonde hair), and at the centre, Calgary mayor Naheed Nenshi.

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. 

  Vancouver billionaire JIm Pattison with members of the Nordstrom family.

Vancouver billionaire JIm Pattison with members of the Nordstrom family.

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. 

Today's Retail News From Around The Web: September 18, 2014