Calgary’s retail clothing landscape will evolve once again this month with the opening of Simons. The 176-year-old fashion retailer from Quebec will open its first Calgary store at the Core Shopping Centre on March 16. It will be the company’s 14th store and second in Alberta (an Edmonton store opened in 2012).
“Calgary had been on our radar for a while,” explains Peter Simons, CEO of Simons. “We were just looking for the right location and the right partner.” That right location is the first five floors of the historic Lancaster Building on Stephen Avenue, as well as portions of the first, second and third floors of TD Square, for a total of 95,000 square feet. The main floor will run an entire city block on Second Street, between Stephen and Seventh Avenue.
The partner is 20 Vic Property Management, who led the 24-month restoration and renovation of the 98-year-old Lancaster Building. Local architecture and interior design firm McKinley Burkart took on the task of integrating the two buildings. Though the old building posed some unplanned for obstacles, the design team was able to overcome and use them. “McKinley Burkart was able to bring their creativity and design skills to bear on those issues and turn them into super interesting pieces of the building,” Simons explains. “That’s the sign of a great design team.”
Art plays a big role in each Simons store, and Calgary’s location is no exception. Simons commissioned local Calgary artist Maya Gohill to install a three-storey painted mural which runs along the escalators in the Lancaster Building. Numerous other Calgary artists are also represented in the new store.
A purveyor of men’s and women’s clothing, Simons houses its own exclusive and private label brands, as well as other international labels. It also carries home fashions for the bedroom, bathroom and kitchen. The Core store will contain eight distinct branded environments including Twik (for young female shoppers), Icône (modern women’s clothing), Contemporaine (classic fashions for women), Djab (for young men) and Le 31 (for men). Ève café, also situated within the store, will serve treats and provide seating for up to 40 people.
Notwithstanding Calgary’s current economic climate, Simons is excited about the new store’s prospects. “It’s been tough for Calgary, no doubt. But I get the sense that Calgary’s landing on its feet, as it always does. We’ve been around 176 years so we look at things a little longer term than the average company. I’m positive looking forward to the next 12 months.”
The new store will add approximately 150-200 full-time equivalency jobs to the Calgary market.