Businessman Mal Coven says that his new Biway $10 Store concept will launch its first location in Toronto in November of this year, and the company has also just launched its first website featuring brands and product lines that will be carried in the store. The Biway $10 Store is a fresh take on the original Biway chain that Mr. Coven sold in the late 1990s prior to its shuttering in 2001.
THE TORONTO BIWAY STORE WILL FEATURE A VARIETY OF BRANDS AT AFFORDABLE PRICES
The first Biway $10 Store will open in November on Orfus Road near the corner of Dufflaw Road, south of Toronto’s Yorkdale Shopping Centre. The 15,000-square-foot space will include about 10,000 square feet for the retail store according to Mr. Coven. The store will be located in an area featuring various off-price and outlet retailers including a Roots Outlet located in the same retail complex.
The new store will feature items priced at $10 each, or multiple items together costing a total of $10. Prices in the store will not be above $10 for items that in some instances would cost considerably more in full-priced retailers.
BIWAY WILL CARRY CARTER’S OSHKOSH IN STORE
Last week, Biway $10 Store’s website was unveiled to the public featuring some of the brand names that will be carried in the new Toronto store. One of the biggest brands will be kid’s brand Carter’s OshKosh, which will feature an expansive range of products in the new store. The 155-year-old Carter’s OshKosh brand is huge in the United States, with a whopping 90% of all millennial parents and 80% of boomer grandparents having shopped there over a recent 12-month period.
Other children’s goods will be carried in the new Biway $10 Store according to Mr. Coven. In total about 28% of the initial stock will be geared towards kids with a goal of attracting parents who will also shop for other categories such as adult fashion and home goods.
According to the Biway $10 Store website, other brands carried will include Puma, the Gap, Old Navy, Pinky, and Snugabye among others. Several sports-branded lines will be included as well with names including the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors, and Toronto Blue Jays. A range of hats from Australian brand Kangol, typically priced in the $40-$80 range, will cost only $10 in the new Biway $10 Store.
The store will feature a range of men’s and women’s fashions as well, including clothing, robes, lingerie, and underwear. A well-known brand that Mr. Coven did not want publicly disclosed will be carried in the store including women’s underwear and men’s socks.
A selection of high-quality bath towels from Turkey will be stocked in the new Biway $10 Store, according to Mr. Coven. He said that the fabric will make the product compelling, and that previous business relationships allowed him to secure the line for his new store. Other home items will include kitchenware, and kids toys and books will also be carried in the store.
A range of food will be available in the store as well. That includes Kosher foods from brands such as Aurora, and Italian specialities including an assortment of olive oils. Candy and cookies will be carried in the store as well.
The new Biway $10 store website features photographs of family members who were used as models. A photo showcasing menswear includes a photo of Mal Coven himself standing next to business partner Barry Weinberg. Mr. Weinberg’s children and grandchildren are featured in the photos, and his wife coordinated the layout given her previous experience in the world of fashion. Mr. Weinberg and his sister formerly owned the rights to the Italian women’s brand Max Mara for the North American market.
BIWAY WEBSITE WILL SERVE TO DRAW CUSTOMERS TO THE PHYSICAL STORE
The website acts as a draw for consumers to come to the physical location — product will not otherwise be sold on the website itself for the time being.
Mr. Coven said that he has been building stock for his first store since 2018, and that he could open multiple locations in years to come as the retailer takes off. The new concept will utilize the guiding principles that “will be no different than the original Biway stores”. That includes choosing products that consumers are seeking while presenting them in a “non-confusing manner” with a depth of product to make visiting a store compelling.
In a previous interview, Mr. Coven said that the new chain will feature “better quality, better brands, and better layout” which will “make shopping a more enjoyable and comfortable experience for the whole family” when compared to the original Biway chain which once had about 250 stores in the Ontario market.
The shopping experience in the store will aim to be spacious, with products showcased on the perimeter walls of the store as well as on tables or racks for hanging merchandise throughout the space. As with the former Biway chain, the new store concept will feature display tables that will have “one idea and one price line to make shopping and decision making easier. The same will be true for the hanging merchandise on the racks” with “all of the sizes and classifications being well identified”, according to Mr. Coven.
BIWAY HAS THE POTENTIAL TO DISRUPT VALUE-PRICED RETAILING IN CANADA
If it expands in a significant way, the Biway $10 Store concept could disrupt value-priced retailing in Canada by hitting a price-point between dollar retailers and off-price retailers such as TJX’s Winners/Marshalls/HomeSense, with a price point also lower than much of the offerings in big-box retailers such as Walmart. Given research conducted by Mr. Coven and his business associates, the Biway name is still recognizable with many consumers. Based on the lingering reputation alone, 91% of those interviewed said that they would be interested in visiting the new concept store. Survey answers indicated considerable interest from both men and women in all regions.
The former Biway chain had an overall strong brand perception on the part of consumers. According to a Goldfarb Associates survey in years past*, 96% of people in Ontario were aware of the Biway name. Of those old enough, 52% said that they shopped at Biway regularly and 32% shopped occasionally. Ninety percent of respondents said that Biway sold good quality merchandise and 95% said that the chain provided good value. The survey also found that “interest is high even among those who have never shopped there personally”, coming in at 80% of respondents.
Mr. Coven has more than 60 years of retail experience and turned 91 years old several months ago. He says that he has a lot of energy left and that he plans to make the new store concept successful. He was one of the leaders in building the discount Biway store chain, which had about 250 stores across the country over 28 years. After selling the company in the late 1990’s, the Biway chain shuttered in 2001.
Mr. Coven wrote a book about his extensive experience - How I Succeeded in Retirement and the Biway Story.
The Toronto store will act as a prototype. In a previous interview, Mr. Coven said that the concept could eventually expand across the country. If an expansion does happen, new locations would ideally be in the 8,000-square-foot to 11,000-square-foot range.
*UPDATE: a Reddit thread noted that the study quoted would have been at least 15 years old, as that Goldfarb Associates is no longer in business. We apologize for any misunderstanding with the information provided.