By Martin Owusu
Last week, Nike in partnership with Footaction (a Foot Locker subsidiary) launched North America’s second Jordan Brand store. The 9,000 square foot 306 Yonge Street Toronto location follows the successful 2015 launch of the Jordan Brand’s flagship store in Chicago. Toted as a landmark for basketball culture in Toronto, the new store seeks not only to be a world destination for Jordan brand apparel and sneakers, but a hub for Toronto’s vibrant basketball community.
The origins of Toronto’s Jordan Brand store date back to 2016, when Toronto hosted the NBA All-Star Weekend. Amidst the basketball hysteria that took hold of the city, Nike aimed to build momentum for the store’s eventual launch through a pop-up shop experience.
“Pop-ups help generate interest and excitement, which provide momentum for a brand when launching a new concept or product,” says Linda Farha, Founder and Chief Connector at pop-up go, an online platform that helps pair retailers with available temporary retail spaces, including a match service that provides access to the ever-growing pipeline of pop-up seekers. “For Jordan - 306 Yonge, the initial success of their pop-up retail store during the NBA All-Star Weekend in Toronto in February 2016 has helped fuel their permanent store opening in the same location last week,” noted Ms. Farha.
Conceptually, the store pushes the boundaries of a traditional retail space. In addition to providing premium selections of Jordan apparel and sneakers, the 9,000 square foot store seamlessly integrates a state-of-the-art training facility, two shoe customization stations and an on-site barber service.
We coordinated a 3D tour of the Toronto Jordan store (below) with Warren Vandal of GEOmarketing Solutions, who uses an innovative Matterport platform to photograph stores to make it appear that one is walking through the live space's three levels. Mr. Vandal is expanding his 3D photographic business to include retail stores, with a unique feature — products within the store can be tagged in the photo tour, with a link connecting them to an e-commerce site or other page. It’s a unique merger of brick-and-mortar and online that retailers may use to profile both store spaces as well as products. Mr. Vandal is now also able to create Google Street View tours, allowing the world to come and virtually tour a store within Google Maps.
(Click Image Below for 3D Tour)
Main Retail Floor: The 5,000 square foot main floor is primarily dedicated to retail, and features the best of the Jordan brand, from apparel to sneakers. Also included on this level is a customization space staffed with three customization technicians. Here, customers are given the opportunity to take on the role of designer, including being able to customize Jordan brand t-shirts and laser-etch Jordan brand footwear to their own specifications.
Besides offering the best of the Jordan brand, the street level floor offers customers an immersive basketball cultural experience. Adorning the walls are brand themed art and décor that draw inspiration from Toronto’s basketball culture. At the time of publication, the store displayed a total of nine art installations, including an Air Jordan shoe mural. Patrons can best experience the mural from the store’s very own consumer lounge.
Centre 23 Floor: Directly above the retail floor is the 3,000 square foot Centre 23 training facility. Staffed with two Jordan trainers, the centre provides a state of the art facility for player skill development. Facilities are open to local youth through training programs running Friday through Sunday, and include unique training features like the Jordan Standard interactive virtual training experience. This piece of technology integrates interactive media with traditional basketball skill drills to deliver an innovative training experience. Also included on this floor are three showers, washrooms and lockers for athletes to use post-workout. The floor also includes an on-site barber service.
Kids Floor: To complete the store’s 9,000 square feet, the lower concourse level houses a kids space. This lower level retail space is dedicated entirely to children’s apparel and sneakers. Similar to the main retail floor, this level features a customization space with dedicated technicians. However, keeping in line with its child-centric theme, this floor’s customization space is geared towards sneaker-heads 13 and under.
The store is accessible from both Yonge Street as well as on the concourse PATH level of the Atrium complex, giving customers a direct and convenient connection to the Dundas TTC subway station.
Originally from British Columbia, Martin Owusu is currently studying towards a JD/MBA at Dalhousie University. He has a keen interest in the combined potential for sport and business to build community.