North Vancouver-based outdoor clothing and sporting goods company Arc’teryx will launch a concept store in downtown Vancouver this spring, with a particular focus on the consumer experience. It’s the sixth store for the brand in Canada, as Arc’teryx expands its retail operations both domestically as well as globally.
Arc’teryx was founded in North Vancouver in 1989, selling products associated with climbing, skiing, snowboarding, backpacking, and hiking-related activities. The company’s designs often feature technological advancements to enhance functionality, making it prominent in outdoor technical apparel. The company was purchased in 2005 by Finland-based Amer Sports, and now operates stores and wholesale accounts globally.
In mid-May of this year, Arc’teryx will open a new store location at 813 Burrard Street in downtown Vancouver, in a retail space formerly occupied by fashion retailer Le Chateau. Arc’teryx will span about 4,020 square feet, according to the company’s Marketing Manager Stephanie Jamieson. It will be the first location for the brand to be particularly ‘community focused’, with a space where shoppers can meet, socialize and experience the product. The store will therefore be “less transactional” and more experiential, according to Ms. Jamieson. Features such as a ‘warranty and repair bar’, for example, will allow customers to further engage and deal with any potential product issues. The store is designed to complement the company’s e-commerce site, which offers the most comprehensive selection of Arc’teryx products.
The Burrard Street store’s interior will include ample use of granite and other raw materials -- a nod not only to the North Shore Mountain scenery at the end of Burrard Street, but also the Stawamus Chief north of the city (a mountain with a popular hiking trail). The store's exterior will also feature grey granite in its exterior, as per the rendering at the top of this article.
The store will also have a dedicated area for its Veilance men's technical apparel brand — a unique feature to the Burrard Street store. The store will also carry a curated selection of the company’s outdoor-focused merchandise, similar to other Arc’teryx locations.
Arc’teryx’s Burrard Street location is ideal, noted Ms. Jamieson, being just south of prominent retailers such as L’Occitane en Provence, Roots, and Lululemon’s Robson Street flagship. A block north is Vancouver’s burgeoning ‘Luxury Zone’, centred on the 1000 Block of Alberni Street, featuring some of the world’s top luxury brands. Despite the large size of the Burrard Street Arc’teryx, it will not technically be a flagship -- Ms. Jamieson noted that the company is still looking to formally define what an Arc'teryx flagship will look like as it continues to expand its retail strategy.
The new Burrard Street store will be Arc’teryx’s second location in Vancouver. The company's first Vancouver store opened in the Kitsilano area October of 2013, measuring about 2,100 square feet.
Besides the two Vancouver stores, Arc’teryx operates four stores in Montreal, Whistler BC, and Toronto. Arc’teryx’s first Canadian store opened in 2006 at 1515 Ste-Catherine Street West in Montreal (according to Ms. Jamieson, the 4,500 square foot store will see a major renovation this year). In June of 2014, Arc’teryx opened a 2,400 square foot ‘partner store’ in Whistler, BC, followed by a 2,700 square foot unit on trendy Queen Street West in August of 2014. A second Toronto store, measuring about 2,800 square feet, opened in October of 2016 in the new Nordstrom-anchored expansion wing at Yorkdale Shopping Centre. The Yorkdale unit was the company’s first mall location for Canada.
While Arc’teryx has no plans as of yet to open any other new stores in Canada in 2017, it will open three stores on the U.S. West Coast this year. The company has stores in various global markets, including the United States, Switzerland, France, UK, Japan, and China.
*Rendering via Unison Construction Management.