The new Laval RICARDO is located at Centropolis Laval, and it features a wide assortment including kitchen accessories, Art of the Table collections, cookbooks, magazines, gourmet and other related products. There’s also a café space with 80 seats, as well as an outdoor terrace that seats a further 30 to 40 guests.
The RICARDO retail space is also rolling out an expanded selection of savoury gourmet products, in addition to an expanded assortment of sweets such as chocolates, caramels and marshmallows.
RICARDO’s first location opened in Saint-Lambert, Quebec, about three years ago. The combined retail space/café was created out of space in the front of the RICARDO head office. Mr. Larrivée explained that he wanted a retail space to showcase his products, which wholesale in over 600 stores.
Retail spaces allow Larrivée to showcase RICARDO’s brand in its entirety, as a way to grow brand recognition while also creating a gathering place for fans and foodies. “People want an experience,” explained Larrivée.
Of the hundreds of items that are stocked, about half are RICARDO branded while the other half are international products for which RICARDO has secured the exclusive Canadian rights. “The product must be great,” explained Larrivée, noting that the shopping experience is easier for the consumer because instead of offering an expansive range of products such as a potato peeler, RICARDO offers “the best” in one or two styles. He also ensures pricing is competitive.
RICARDO retail locations in Ottawa and Quebec City are in the works, and Larrivée says that he’d like to eventually open RICARDO Canada-wide — markets such as Vancouver are on his radar, though he noted the challenges of finding 8,000 square feet of space at a reasonable price. Markets such as Toronto and Calgary will also be targets, though he’ll wait to find the “proper space at the right price”. Ideally, any spaces should include the potential for an outdoor patio area for café seating.
Larrivée says that he’s developed a world-class brand that is distinctly Canadian, and that the concept will be perfected further over time to keep things fresh and interesting. RICARDO also just launched a new e-commerce site that retails the entire range of RICARDO products (including its Art of the Table collections, cookbooks and magazines), which ships throughout Canada as well as internationally.