By Megan Harman
The family behind one of Ontario’s oldest carpet retailers has launched a new store that takes a more contemporary approach to the flooring retail business.
The Signature by Shelley Alexanian flagship store recently opened in the Castlefield Design District of Toronto, near Eglinton Ave. W. and Dufferin St. The store is an extension of the Alexanian carpet, flooring and window coverings chain, which dates back to 1925 and operates 19 stores throughout Ontario.
“It’s a departure from our traditional stores,” says Shelley Alexanian. “It’s a complete departure from anything in the flooring industry.”
The store aims to make floor shopping a vibrant and enjoyable experience for shoppers. Approximately 12,000 square feet in size, the store was designed to look like an oversized boutique, with products on display against a clean, white background.
Whereas the vast array of options in a flooring retailer can be overwhelming, Alexanian sought to create a space that was easy for shoppers to navigate. “I wanted something that wasn’t cluttered, that was visually very comfortable,” she says.
The store boasts four different types of lighting, so that customers can see how products would look under the lights in their own homes.
iPads are available in the store, which customers can use to access an app that provides pricing and other details about the products in store.
Customers are also offered espresso and cappuccinos, and a play area is available to keep kids occupied while their parents are shopping.
“It can be sort of mundane to go into a traditional flooring store,” Alexanian says. “I wanted to raise the bar, and create an innovative, fun and dynamic environment.”
The Signature store aims to be a one-stop shop for flooring, with a wide range of products such as hardwood, tiles, laminate, vinyl, marble, carpet, area rugs and more. It also carries a range of window coverings and California shutters. The store offers professional installation of all products available.
The merchandise differs from the selection available in the other Alexanian stores, with Signature boasting more contemporary styles and bolder colours and designs.
Castlefield was the perfect location for the new store, Alexanian says, since the area has become a destination for home design.
“For someone redoing their home, they would be inclined to come to this area if they wanted really progressive, contemporary, and more current design options,” she says.
The prices of the products in store range considerably, Alexanian adds, to appeal to a broad spectrum of customers.
The store aims to cater to both designers and consumers. For the designer community, the Signature store hosts regular workshops where designers can learn more about the various products and materials.
Alexanian says she might consider opening more Signature stores in the future.
Megan Harman is a business reporter based in Toronto. She writes about topics including retail, financial services and technology. Megan covers Toronto’s retail industry through her blog Retail Realm (torontoretail.wordpress.com). Follow her on Twitter at @meganmharman.