Maritimes-Based Fashion Retailer 'Envy' Expands into Western Canada

By Mario Toneguzzi

Women’s fashion forward retailer, Envy, which is based in the Maritimes, has expanded its presence to Western Canada with the opening of a store in the West Edmonton Mall.

And the unique retailer, established in 2000, is setting its sights on further expansion of the brand.

Jessica Wentzell, Director of Marketing for Envy, said Nancy Holmes, the company founder along with her husband Glen, saw a niche to target the fashion forward females in the Atlantic provinces.

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“She’s really built quite a following here over the last number of years. In April, we opened up our West Edmonton location. So the key here is we’re going to be targeting an area that is very fashion forward. Edmonton is very fashion oriented. We thought it was a very good fit so we made the move out there. So that is our first technical Envy location in Western Canada. We’re super excited to be there."

“We are loving being in Edmonton and we’re hoping to grow within the next couple of years . . . We will have other future plans happening out in the West as well."

“We do have a sister company named Grace in Kelowna. She’s been there for about a year and a half now and that location’s been doing really well for us. Same sort of demographic. Same sort of brands and stuff in that location. Just a different banner.”

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Grace has been in the Orchard Park Shopping Centre since last summer.

Wentzell said Envy carries many fashion forward popular brands such as Levi’s, Calvin Klein, Matt & Nat, Brunette the Label, Free People, Sans Souci, Dex, Fila, Mink Pink and more.

There are currently nine Envy stores in Halifax, Cape Breton, New Brunswick and some in the rural Nova Scotia market.

“We do have plans to open up actually a new location in Moncton in the middle of August. We’re in the middle of getting that up and running as well,” said Wentzell.

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“As Envy expanded across Atlantic Canada, we continued to provide our shoppers with a unique boutique vibe, with high-end fashion pieces and a small business approach to customer service.”

Wentzell said Envy appeals to the woman who is looking for the newest trends.

“So we always say a trend setter versus a trend seller. A lot of the companies will be coming in once the brand is already popular. We try to get there beforehand. So we try to be a little bit more ahead of the game and find those brands that we feel are going to be coming up or the trends that are going to be coming up. We get them into the store beforehand and then we continue to develop through that trending period,” she said.

“So stuff like the Fila brand, the Free People brand, the Brunette brand that’s all something we tried to get ahead of the game and then we see it start to pop up in other stores. So then we need to find another brand to sort of stay ahead of the ball there.

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“When we’re talking about the fashion forward female we always carry something that’s a little bit edgier as well. So you’ll see a lot of different stuff in our stores. We have high waisted jeans that we call like the mom jeans. A lot of destroyed jeans. Different details that you wouldn’t necessarily find in all the other ones like American Eagle and that sort of brand.”

Wentzell said the company’s research indicates that customers range in age from 15 to 65 plus.

“It hits the people who are looking for a trendier look and it doesn’t matter what age they are,” she said.

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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Mario Toneguzzi

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.