By Craig Patterson
Upscale French bakery and sweets maker Ladurée has opened its second Toronto location in the heart of the city’s Financial District. It is the fourth Ladurée location in Canada after the company opened its first storefront almost four years ago in Vancouver.
Ladurée’s newest Toronto location is in the retail component of The Exchange Tower, which is part of a commercial centre that includes several skyscrapers that soar above the King and Bay intersection and is connected to Toronto’s underground PATH pedestrian network. The 680-square-foot Ladurée storefront features a modern design that plays on the brand’s colour scheme of green, with an interior reminiscent of a jungle.
The retail space opened quietly in December and has been bustling, according to Ladurée’s Canadian licensee Olesya Krakhmalyova. She explained how the Exchange Tower location features a ‘different vibe’ from other locations in Canada, which is driven by its location as well as product offerings. Ladurée’s to-go coffees and gourmet blended teas (also available to-go) have proven popular. The space features a macaron and coffee bar and tea salon seating area, which has hosted numerous coffee meetings. The elevated experience is rare in the downtown Toronto PATH network which features several Starbucks and Tim Hortons locations.
Food offerings include Ladurée’s world famous macarons that include the newly launched chocolate coated variety as well as classic and seasonal varieties. All together about 19 flavours are offered daily. Other popular items include chocolates, loaf cakes, bite size viennoiseries such as financiers and madeleines, and ice cream cups to go. Savoury quiches and salads can be eaten in the new space or taken to go. Various Ladurée delicacies such as teas, jams, and honeys, and signature accessories such as key chains and shopping bags are available in the new Exchange tower location. Given the location in the Financial District, Ladurée is now available for corporate orders and provides a delivery service, according to Ms. Krakhmalyova.
An intimate seating area for 16 patrons is included in the new Exchange Tower Ladurée, with several additional seats at the coffee/macaron bar.
The concept of Ladurée Exchange Tower space was designed by Claudia Ravnbo, Ladurée’s own interior designer. The design was then detailed and executed by Studio Paolo Ferrari.
Elevate Build Inc. was responsible for bringing the new Exchange Tower Ladurée location to life, which involved several months of perfecting construction. Elevate Build Inc. is a new company which was recently founded by experienced industry professional Paul M. Bélanger.
Beauleigh Retail Consultants, which handles leasing for the Exchange tower as well as various other commercial properties in the core, negotiated the lease deal on behalf of the landlord.
Ladurée entered Canada in March of 2016 when it opened a 1,100-square-foot boutique and 23-seat tea salon at 1141 Robson Street in Vancouver. That was followed by a second Vancouver location in March of 2017 with the opening of a 500 square foot Ladurée concession (including an 18-seat tea salon) at Vancouver’s Holt Renfrew flagship, adjacent to the store’s overhauled 8,500-square-foot women’s designer footwear salon. The Holt Renfrew location has since been converted to a ‘Ladurée carriage’ with the former location having made way for a new Chanel footwear boutique which spans more than 1,000 square feet.
In December of 2018, Ladurée opened its first Toronto location at the Yorkdale Shopping Centre. The 1,185-square-foot storefront is located across from luxury brands including Chloé, Mr. and Mrs. Italy and Saint Laurent, with Louis Vuitton set to open a flagship store this summer. Ladurée’s Yorkdale storefront features a retail area as well as a 26-seat tea salon. Claudia Ravnbo designed the Yorkdale Ladurée, which was the first in the world to reflect a new design aesthetic with an interior inspired by the colonial style of the 18th century.
Ladurée opened a dedicated bakery space in Vancouver in the summer of 2018 to provide Ladurée’s Vancouver locations with fresh baked pastries. Chef Mickael de Monte relocated from Paris to Vancouver to run it. Ms. Krakhmalyova explained that bringing Chef Mickael to Canada was the next step in the progression of Ladurée’s Canadian operations.
A Toronto pastry laboratory is in the works, though finding a space with electrical capabilities is proving to be challenging according to Ms. Krakhmalyova. Until a pastry laboratory opens in Toronto, Ladurée will not yet offer croissants and other viennoiseries (baked goods) in the city.
Ladurée Canada also includes retail ‘carriages’ that pop-up temporarily in different locations. Recently, Park Royal in West Vancouver was home to a Ladurée carriage. Over the long weekend, Ladurée poped-up at the Four Seasons Hotel in Toronto’s Bloor-Yorkville.
Founded in Paris in 1862, Ladurée is best known for its double-decker macarons, selling over 15,000 of them daily. Many Ladurée locations also sell ice cream, sorbets, jams, chocolate and candy, as well as branded accessories. Ladurée was purchased by French business group Groupe Holder in 1993, expanding Ladurée from a handful of locations to dozens of boutiques in 27 countries, including several in the United States.
We’ll continue to report on Ladurée as it grows its operations in Canada.
Now located in Toronto, Craig is a retail analyst and consultant at the Retail Council of Canada. He’s also the Director of Applied Research at the University of Alberta School of Retailing in Edmonton. He has studied the Canadian retail landscape for the past 25 years and he holds Bachelor of Commerce and Bachelor of Laws Degrees. He is also President & CEO of Vancouver-based Retail Insider Media Ltd. Email Craig: firstname.lastname@example.org
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