By Craig Patterson
New York City-based sleep brand Casper has opened a large permanent showroom at 342 Queen Street West in downtown Toronto, which will also house the brand’s Canadian headquarters at the back of the space in the spring of 2019 when office renovations are completed. The Toronto location is Casper’s second in Canada, and more retail spaces are set to open in British Columbia, Alberta, Ontario and Quebec over the next couple of years.
The 2,000 square foot Queen Street Casper location features the brand’s full assortment of products, which includes mattresses, sheets and pillows, bed frames, and even dog beds. The showroom allows shoppers to interact with Casper products and become educated in a way that wasn’t possible when Casper was an exclusive e-commerce retailer.
A series of five ‘nap houses’ act as mini-showrooms to display different Casper products such as pillows, bed sheets, bed frames, bedside tables (not to mention different styles of mattresses). The ‘houses’ towards the front of the store feature ‘morning themes’ which move progressively towards ‘nighttime themes’ at the back of the elongated retail space. These can be reserved online privately for 15-minute test-naps.
A separate room area contains a pillow-testing area with a selection of casper pillows that can be tested out on a custom-designed platform that looks like a desk.
Light wood trim is featured throughout the store, with Terrazzo flooring with blue flecks are reflective of Casper’s branding. Casper says that the store incorporates the brand’s newest retail design which will be implemented moving forward. Artwork throughout the retail space, by Toronto based artist and designer Kellen Hatanaka (his previous partnerships include Frank And Oak, the Birreria Volo beer hall, and Cask Days beer festival) brightens up the space with whimsical ‘bedtime scene’ murals throughout.
Quadrangle is working with Casper as its collaborating architect in Canada. Quadrangle designed the 342 Queen Street West space and is also designing upgrades to the CF Sherway Gardens location.
"The demand to experience Casper products in-person continues to grow exponentially," said Nicole Tapscott, Vice President and General Manager of Casper Canada. "We saw tremendous success from our first Canadian retail store, and are thrilled to open a second location paired with our Canadian headquarters in Toronto, as we invest further in the market.”
Arlin Markowitz and Alex Edmison of CBRE’s Toronto Urban Retail Team acted as listing agents for 342 Queen Street West. Mary Mowbray of Colliers represented Casper in the lease deal. The retail space formerly housed a Lululemon store which relocated to a larger space nearby. Interestingly, Quadrangle Architects also designed the former Lululemon space which opened in 2006, as well as the relocated store.
Casper launched its Canadian operations in 2014 online and it began showcasing some of its products in host retailers. Casper’s first permanent Canadian retail space opened at CF Sherway Gardens in Toronto in May of 2017 in a 2,300 square foot retail space in the mall’s centre-court. Ms. Tapscott said that the CF Sherway store will see some design upgrades that will be similar to the new downtown Toronto location.
Casper operates more than 20 ‘Sleep Shops’ across the United States and Canada, and it plans to open 200 retail stores over the next three years. In Canada, there are plans to roll-out locations in British Columbia, Alberta and Quebec, as well as more in the Ontario market.
Casper also parters with retailers such as Hudson’s Bay, Indigo, and EQ3 to carry an assortment of Casper products in their stores.
Casper was founded in New York City in 2014 as a direct-to-consumer online retailer and has celebrity backers including Leonardo DiCaprio, Tobey Maguire, Adam Levine and Ashton Kutcher. The company boasts sales in the hundreds of millions of dollars annually.
The mattress-in-a-box phenomenon is taking hold in Canada in a big way, and the competition has never been fiercer. Late last month, Sleep Country Canada announced that it had acquired Canadian mattress-in-a-box brand Endy for $88.7 million — the move is significant because Sleep Country is the largest mattress retailer in Canada, and Endy is said to be the top-selling mattress in the country with annual revenues on track for $50-million this year. Various other brands continue to enter the market, such as Leesa and Tuft & Needle, and there’s even now a plant-based mattress called Haven Mattress Company which is based in Kelowna.