The revitalized Montreal Eaton Centre is the perfect new home for French chocolatier Jeff de Bruges

November 14, 2019

Think Retail is thrilled to announce the official opening of French chocolatier and ice cream house Jeff de Bruges in it’s new permanent location at the reinvented Montreal Eaton Centre, in the heart of the city.    
The popular retail concept debuted in Canada in 2014 at Place Montreal Trust and quickly evolved into a sweet destination for those who love its unique offering of exquisite Belgian chocolates, ice cream and other decadent treats.    
A year ago—in light of Montreal’s $6.3 billion REM public transit project—Jeff de Bruges relocated its flagship from Montreal Trust to the Montreal Eaton Centre, which is now wrapping up an unprecedented $200 million redevelopment project. Landlord Ivanhoé Cambridge has created a truly remarkable shopping experience that features updated store concepts throughout. The shopping centre is modern and light-filled, with a soothing palette of gray and white, with wood accents.   
 Jeff de Bruges has moved from its temporary pop-up space to a new 750-sq.-ft. store, strategically located on the main level, right at the escalators that lead up to the highly-anticipated Time Out Market, which spans 40,000 sq. ft. and includes 16 restaurants, as well as three bespoke bars. Jeff de Bruges is well positioned to offer dessert and more to visitors of this innovative concept.    
To celebrate is new location, Jeff de Bruges’ founder Philippe Jambon will be in Montreal November 21st to host an exclusive invitation-only, in-store tasting event. Visitors will experience firsthand the delights of this marquee brand—the store embodies its signature industrial chic vibe, with a modern turquoise and brown palette that’s echoed in all packaging.    
Jambon launched the concept in Europe in 1986 and the company now operates more than 500 stores across France, as well as close to 40 international locations. Chocolates are imported from Belgium and ice cream is locally sourced—in Quebec, it’s Bilboque.    
It’s an exciting time for the concept here in Canada. Earlier this year, the company opened a 175-sq.-ft. kiosk at Carrefour Industrielle Alliance, 210,000-sq.-ft. historical building in the heart of Montreal’s pedestrian network.    
Next up, Jeff de Bruges is looking to expand in regional and super-regional malls, as well as airports and train stations, across Quebec. It has two strong formats—the preference is to focus on kiosks of about 175 sq. ft., however inline stores of 600 to 900 sq. ft. are also of interest.    
For more about this delightful brand and its plans for expansion in Canada, visit the Jeff de Bruges website, or contact the Think Retail team.

Foodservice and Hospitality magazine names Copper Branch Company of the Year

September 19, 2019

Plant-based eating never tasted so good and Copper Branch is on fire, taking top spot at the prestigious Pinnacle Awards.   
Kostuch Media Ltd., publisher of industry magazine Foodservice and Hospitality, recently unveiled the 2019 winners of the “Oscars of the industry,” naming the plant-based restaurant chain F&H’s Company of the Year. 
“For more than 30 years, we’ve been shining the spotlight on companies and individuals who are achieving success in the hospitality industry through innovation, creativity and a steadfast focus on excellence,” says Rosanna Caira, editor and publisher at Kostuch Media Ltd. “This year’s winners reflect the importance of staying current in a landscape that continues to be disrupted.”
Copper Brand has always been ahead of the curve. Established in Montreal in 2014, the plant-based eatery is driving force behind a major food movement. Founder Rio Infantino spent 25 years serving up traditional fast food, before setting out to redefine the QSR experience. His goal was simple: turn “real” nourishing gourmet power foods into fast food designed to appeal to an audience hungry for options.
The company, which now operates more than 50 restaurants across the country, quickly established itself as a market leader, serving 100% plant-based power foods designed for health-conscious time-strapped consumers.
In a statement, Kostuch Media Ltd said: “Over the past year, Company of the Year, Montreal-based Copper Branch, announced plans to open 50 new locations over the next decade. Five of these openings are slated to happen within the next year, including Copper Branch’s first-ever Vancouver outpost and several spots located in the GTA and near Montreal. In January, the company opened two new stores in France, one in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. and one in New York City. Founder Rio Infantino is also planning to open locations in the Netherlands and Monaco. The company has found instant success with it plant-based menu offerings and holds the distinction of being the largest and fastest-growing plant-based fast-casual chain in the world.”
Think Retail is thrilled to work with this visionary company and we congratulate the Copper Branch team on their extraordinary win. 
And, the momentum continues. Copper Branch is growing across Canada, seeking opportunities in all markets: Ideal spaces are 1,250 to 2,000 sq. ft. in open-air centres and 450 to 1,500 sq. ft. in enclosed malls.
For information, contact the Think Retail Team.

Star Bédard: Shaping the beauty industry in Quebec and beyond

September 18, 2019

It’s a beautiful thing to see Star Bédard, the Quebec leader in the distribution of professional hairstyling products, flourishing and innovating in its market. 
Star Bédard, founded in 1978 by France Bédard Bourdon and Gaétan Bourdon, is a family-run business making waves as it ramps up the expansion of its territory, as well as its product and service offerings.
In Quebec, Star Bédard is known for offering quality, professional and exclusive hair and beauty products at affordable prices. It is also the go-to destination for everything that salon owners need to operate their businesses, from hair clips to hydraulic chairs, as well as nail and aesthetics supplies.
This 41-year-old company remains fresh and is often featured on the style pages of fashion magazines and newspapers. It’s still owned and managed by the Bourdon family, but today led by the founders’ daughters—Marie-Christine and Marie-Danielle. The uber-fashionable duo have big plans for this strong brand and their goal is to expand the business through innovation and business practices designed to solidify its position as a leader in the hairstyling and beauty industries.
Hair care is big business in Canada. It’s estimated the market value of the hair care industry is $1.42 billion and growing. The market research firm Euromonitor reports hair care is projected to experience “solid” growth. At the same time, beauty—from nail salons to hair removal and other aesthetic services—is unstoppable.
Star Bédard is well positioned to capture the momentum on several fronts. 
Today, the company, with headquarters in Laval, has about 240 employees and operates 25 stores. Its stores feature a wide selection of hair care and beauty products, accessories furniture and accessories, as well as classrooms for salon training.  On the retail front, Star Bédard has a strong footprint in the Province of Quebec, as well as Northern New Brunswick and Eastern Ontario.
At Think Retail, we love to celebrate Canadian success stories, especially ones in our home province of Quebec. Star Bédard is one such company—it’s steeped in family tradition, with great energy, vision and an exciting future.
We are thrilled to work with the Bourdon family as they expand the business in Quebec. Ideal spaces for these funky black, white and red boutiques are 2,000 to 3,000 sq. ft. in open-air centres and along high streets. For more information about this homegrown brand, check out the Star Bédard website or contact the Think Retail Team.  

Foodtastic acquires Quebec-based Chocolato

August 21, 2019

Foodtastic Inc., the Quebec-based franchisor of several marquee restaurant concepts, is adding something sweet to its portfolio with the acquisition of Quebec-based Chocolato.
Serving everything from dessert pizzas to fondues, handmade chocolates, drinking chocolate, ice cream and gelato, Chocolato is famous for its 20 dipping choices made from 100% pure high-quality chocolate. The very first Chocolato opened on boulevard du Versant-Nord, in Sainte-Foy (Québec) in August 2015. Now there are 22 locations in Quebec that span stand-alone stores, mall kiosks and express counters.
It’s the ideal partner for Foodtastic, which already operates 58 restaurants under 11 banners, including Au Coq, La Belle et La Boeuf, Monza, Carlos & Pepe's, Souvlaki Bar, Nickels, Vinnie Gambini, Blossom, Gatto Matto and Bacaro Pizzeria, as well as Big Rig Brewery and Big Rig Restaurants (Big Rig), which it added to its portfolio earlier this summer.
Founded by entrepreneurs Peter Mammas, Lawrence Mammas and Jacques Gaspo, Foodtastic is a leader in the restaurant franchising business with $125 million in annualized sales. Its recent growth is fuelled by a $47-million investment in December 2018 from Restaurant Royalty Partners and the Chocolato acquisition is part of Foodtastic’s vision to accelerate growth through new and existing brands.
Think Retail is honoured to work with this innovative company as it expands its network of marquee brands across the country. For more information about Foodtastic and its portfolio, visit the Foodtastic website or contact the Think Retail team.

Change Lingerie Announces New Store Openings

August 19, 2019

With four new stores on the horizon, Change Lingerie is setting its sights on new markets across Canada, including Alberta. 
The company recently opened a 650 sq. ft. store in CF Galeries d’Anjou and has announced four new locations—two are to open in Quebec this September, including a 700 sq. ft. store in Place Rosemere and a 750 sq. ft. location at Galerie Rive Nord. In addition, Change will open a 1,000 sq. ft. location at Guildford Town Centre in Surry, B.C. this December and a 775 sq. ft. store at CF Masonville Place in London, Ont. is already in the works for November 2020.
It continues to be an incredible run for the international brand, which debuted in Denmark as a private label concept in 1997, before opening its first retail store in 2001.
Since then, the fan-favourite brand has gone from strength to strength and today operates more than 200 locations in three continents and 15 countries. It debuted in Canada in 2006 and now has more than 20 locations in British Columbia, Ontario and Quebec.
These markets are still of interest as Change continues its Canadian rollout, however plans for 2020 include an Alberta market entry. Ideal spaces are 600 to 1,000 sq. ft.
Change is a dynamic tenant that attracts a diverse customer base drawn to its impressive selection of bra in more than 110 sizes from A to M cup. Its mission is “to provide the perfect bra to as many women around the world as possible” and in doing so, it cultivates loyal customers, who keep coming back for more thanks, in part, to the Club Change loyalty program. Change boutiques are bright and welcoming, with a modern edge, making it an ideal tenant for busy shopping centres and high streets.
Think Retail is excited to work with this fresh brand as it continues to grow across Canada.For more, visit the Change website or contact the Think Retail Team.

Fossil to open new ‘Makers’ concept store at Metropolis at Metrotown

June 17, 2019

Fossil is getting ready to open another of its innovative Makers concept stores, this time at Metropolis at Metrotown in Burnaby, B.C.
The 1,100 sq. ft. retail space will open November 1 at the three-story shopping centre, which is home to more than 400 stores and restaurants, as well as a movie theatre.
The Makers stores are designed to celebrate the unique craftsmanship and services on which the brand has built its reputation. Fossil debuted the retail concept at CF Toronto Eaton Centre in 2018, with a 1,458 sq. ft. store replacing the former Fossil.
“Customers are shopping in a different way—largely in part to the ease of online and mobile shopping—and we recognize that and want to be part of a convenient, enhanced shopping experience,‘‘ Steve Evans, Executive Vice President for Fossil, explained at the time. “Retail stores have become more about creating experiences and sharing meaningful in-person relationships with consumers. This store gives us an opportunity to bring to life what we do best: hands on customization, convenience, and a celebration of the Fossil lifestyle.’’
Indeed, Fossil is a company steeped in tradition and alive with innovation. Founded in 1984, the Texas-based, watch and fashion accessories brand has built a strong following for its vintage-modern styling and a unique collections of bags and accessories, as well as signature durable watches. Today, it’s a leader in the ever-evolving smartwatch category.
The public company recently reported earnings of $465.3 million for its latest quarter, surpassing expectations. Fossil has more than 350 stand-alone stores around the globe, including about 30 in Canada, and its collections are sold via numerous quality retailers.
The new Metropolis at Metrotown store will highlight Fossil’s unique services, including building your own watch, engraving and embossing stations, as well as a mix-and-match strap bar. The Custom Shop and Service Station will also feature engraving/embossing icons and the Service Centre will be open for appointments and walk-in customers, offering specialty support for smartwatches and staff on hand to replace batteries, remove links and more. The fresh design is bright and modular.
Next up, Fossil plans to open two more locations in Canada in 2020 and as many as three in 2021. Ideals spaces are 1,500 sq. ft. in Ontario and British Columbia. In addition, Fossil is eyeing a market debut in Newfoundland.
Think Retail is delighted to work with Fossil on its continue expansion in Canada. For more information, visit or contact the Think Retail team.