Bailey Nelson Continues Canadian Store Expansion as it Enters New Markets

Rideau Centre (Ottawa) Location. Photo: Bailey Nelson Website

Rideau Centre (Ottawa) Location. Photo: Bailey Nelson Website

By Mario Toneguzzi

It’s been a very busy year and a half for Australian eyewear retailer Bailey Nelson as it continues its aggressive expansion plans across Canada.

Company founder Nick Perry told Retail Insider the brand’s high-quality, on-trend glasses and sunglasses at a moderate price-point concept is resonating with Canadian consumers.

He said the company has opened 10 Canadian stores in the past year and a half.

“Our goal is 50 locations in Canada across Vancouver, Alberta. We’ll probably go to Saskatchewan and Ontario. We’re looking at about 50 stores over the next three or four years which is a similar size to what we’ve got in Australia right now,” said Perry.

Chinook Centre (Calgary) Location. Photo: Bailey Nelson Website

Chinook Centre (Calgary) Location. Photo: Bailey Nelson Website

Bondi Beach (Sydney) Australia. Photo: Bailey Nelson Twitter

Bondi Beach (Sydney) Australia. Photo: Bailey Nelson Twitter

Robson Street (Vancouver) Location. Photo: Bailey Nelson Website

Robson Street (Vancouver) Location. Photo: Bailey Nelson Website

Kitsilano (Vancouver) Location. Photo: Bailey Nelson Website

Kitsilano (Vancouver) Location. Photo: Bailey Nelson Website

“We’re thrilled by the reception we’ve received from Canadian consumers and the quality of opticians, retail team and optometrists that we’ve been able to attract.”

Bailey Nelson was founded in August 2012 in Bondi Beach (Sydney) Australia.

“We saw an opportunity. We didn’t think the experience of going to (other eyewear retailers) was that great. The glasses were expensive and the experience was more medical,” said Nelson.

Today, it has 10 stores in Canada. The first corporate store in Canada opened in Vancouver on Robson Street in June 2017.

The retailer has 60 corporate locations today with 48 in Australia and New Zealand, two in the UK and the rest in Canada.

“We’ve got a few in Vancouver. We’re in Kitsilano. We’re in Gastown and then we’ve got one down in Morgan Crossing. We’ve got one in Kensington in Calgary and we just opened at CF Chinook Centre. We’ve opened Southgate and West Edmonton Mall in Edmonton. We’ve got Queen Street West in Toronto and we’ve just opened CF Rideau Centre in Ottawa,” said Perry.

Gastown (Vancouver) location. Photo: Bailey Nelson Facebook

Gastown (Vancouver) location. Photo: Bailey Nelson Facebook

Photo: Bailey Nelson Facebook

Photo: Bailey Nelson Facebook

Gastown (Vancouver) location. Photo: Bailey Nelson Facebook

Gastown (Vancouver) location. Photo: Bailey Nelson Facebook

Gastown (Vancouver) location. Photo: Bailey Nelson Facebook

Gastown (Vancouver) location. Photo: Bailey Nelson Facebook

The most recent opening was on Black Friday at the West Edmonton Mall.

“We only entered Edmonton with Southgate about three months ago but we’ve just been blown away by the reception of that store in Edmonton. We’ve got an incredibly passionate group of people there,” said Perry. “If you can imagine a dream team, we’ve got that in Southgate and so we thought if an opportunity came up in West Edmonton normally you wouldn’t open both of those simultaneously but the reception’s just been so strong that we thought that kind of secures Edmonton for us in the short term.”

Vancouver-based Peregrine, which now also owns ACORN Wood Design, was responsible for manufacturing the millwork and fixtures for all of Bailey Nelson’s Canadian stores.

On its website, Bailey Nelson says buying glasses should be one of life’s pleasures.

“And we’ve created a formula to make it one. We start with a process that’s clever and honest. We use it to craft eyewear that’s both beautiful and affordable. And we hire people who are passionate and genuine. It’s not rocket science. It’s just caring enough about what you’re doing to do it right. We strive to deliver fantastic eyewear frames at a reasonable price, backed up by great service,” it says.

“Our vision is to right the wrongs of the eyewear industry - positively and permanently; and whilst we're at it, we hope to empower individuality and self-expression through our beautiful, affordable eyewear, inviting stores and incredible people.”

Toronto Location. Photo: Bailey Nelson Facebook

Toronto Location. Photo: Bailey Nelson Facebook

Photo: Bailey Nelson Facebook

Photo: Bailey Nelson Facebook

The company said its frames and lenses cost less than competitors because the company is vertically integrated, meaning it designs and manufactures all its own frames, eliminating the unnecessary parts of the supply chain.

“There is no reason glasses should cost more than an iPad simply because they have a small brand name on the temple,” says Bailey Nelson.

Optometrists are available to test eyes in all of its stores.

“We go after a younger customer,” said Perry. “And we try to provide a beautiful guest experience. Great stores. We design all our own product. We manufacture it so we sell it at about a third of the price of what you could get elsewhere. We’ve just got a really passionate group of people who want to have a really positive impact on the industry and believe very strongly in what we’re doing.”

*The real estate contact for Bailey Nelson in Canada is:

Wynn Spencer, Director of Real Estate at Bailey Nelson. Email: wspencer@baileynelson.com and Phone: 604-764-1490

Mario Toneguzzi, based in Calgary has 37 years of experience as a daily newspaper writer, columnist and editor. He worked for 35 years at the Calgary Herald covering sports, crime, politics, health, city and breaking news, and business. For 12 years as a business writer, his main beats were commercial and residential real estate, retail, small business and general economic news. He nows works on his own as a freelance writer and consultant in communications and media relations/training. Email: mdtoneguzzi@gmail.com

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