International Currency Exchange to open 5 new locations

July 04, 2018

International Currency Exchange (ICE) is hot for growth in Canada, with plans to open two stores in 2018 and up to three more in 2019.
This major global brand continues to go from strength to strength and Think Retail is thrilled to be part of its growth here in Canada. We have worked with ICE since 2008, helping navigate its expansion coast to coast, in shopping centres, retail hubs and major airports, including Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton, Winnipeg, Montreal, Ottawa, Victoria and Quebec City.
In 2016 ICE won a major RFP to open 15 locations at Toronto Pearson International Airport.
Today, ICE operates 88 branches in Canada and the company is prepared to open a couple more this year, with an additional two to three in 2019. Ideal spaces include mall kiosks or in-line units of 300 to 500 sq. ft. Also, the company is interested in 500 to 1,000 sq. ft. in open-air centres located adjacent to regional malls. Areas of interest include, Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal.
Founded in the UK in 1973, ICE now has more than 400 locations in 16 countries and this exciting organization keeps growing. In 2016, Chinese conglomerate HNA Group acquired ICE as part of a strategic effort to expand outside of Asia. Founded in 1993, privately-owned HNA is a major conglomerate with several core divisions, including aviation, real estate, capital, tourism, hospitality, technology and logistics: ICE is as a valued part of HNA Tourism, which specializes in air travel, hospitality management, tourism, finance, investment and e-commerce.
As a result, the ICE brand now boasts an even stronger mandate and global presence, as it continues to build on its strong reputation for customer-friendly foreign exchange and related services, including a popular Click & Collect service, whereby individuals or their travel agents can place currency orders by phone or online, to be picked up at the retail location of the customer’s choice.
The international brand offers an extensive range of major and exotic currencies that cater to Canada’s diverse and well-travelled population. Other services include, currency wires, money drafts, all kinds of cheques, money orders, travelers cheques and travelers GST returns. As well, some stores facilitate the sale of gold bullions, souvenir coins, Olympic coins and travelers insurance, while operating ATM bank machines. ICE’s award-winning retail stores are a popular destination for Canada’s multi-national population, particularly in major urban centres, such as Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal.
For more about ICE and its Canadian expansion plans, visit or contact the Think Retail Team.

Berso lays the foundation for innovative experiential retail concept

June 27, 2018

Berso is giving birth to a fresh new immersive retail concept designed for tech-savvy new parents.
The modern brand will sell everything for babies, from newborn to 2 years, but it is more than a storefront. Berso offers a highly experiential space that is also designed to serve as a gathering place, with a coffee bar and tables fitted with tablets so visitors can browse the company’s website and shop at their leisure.
The concept is the brainchild of Martin Lamarche and Cynthia Chevalier, who both have deep experience in the child/baby space, from research and development to marketing and fashion with major brands, including Trois Moutons and Gagou Tagou, respectively.
The stores will carry everything baby-related and about 70% of the product assortment is to be Berso-branded, while 30% comprises major brands. The vast lineup includes maternity gear, baby clothing, strollers, furniture, toys, accessories and more.
The concept is designed to meet the needs of Generation Y and Millennials, who expect more from the retail experience. In addition to the café, customers can avail of a number of unique in-store services, from a personal shopping guide to help provide insights and advice on purchases, a stroller testing area, a car on site so they can experiment with car seats, gift-box subscriptions and more.
In keeping with the ethos of its target audience, the brand is high-tech, eco-conscious (its delivery trucks are Teslas) and operates with strong social pillars. Overall, the brand design is fresh and simple with a modern edge, while the stores are laid out like shops-in-shops, with sections defined by their esthetics and catering to different audiences. As well, there are no cash counters and instead transactions are done via iPad.
This is a completely new take on retail and it’s extraordinarily exciting. Think Retail is delighted to partner with Berso on its market entry.
The initial plan is to open five stores in the Province of Quebec in the next three years and then expand nationally. The ideal store footprint is about 15,000 sq. ft. Berso is well positioned to become a major player in the baby and maternity retail space, catering to a high-end market with an experiential hybrid retail experience that marries bricks and mortar, with online shopping. For more, contact the Think Retail team.

1181 Ste. Catherine Street West: Stunning property. Flagship Opportunity

June 21, 2018

Sometimes a building comes along that you can’t help but get excited about.  That’s 1181 Sainte-Catherine Street West: This magnificent property was built in the 1920s, but was recently upgraded to the highest standards, offering both old-school charm and modern amenities. 
This 15,700 sq.ft t. leasing opportunity is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful spaces on Sainte-Catherine Street and is ideally situated in the heart of Montreal’s most vibrant destination. The street is home to all the major retailers, as well as the finest restaurants.  The property was purchased in 1978 and the owner recently completed a major $1.5 million renovation of the premises, with upgrades both inside and out. From the street, 1181 Sainte-Catherine stands out as a stylish art deco building with architectural details and abundant windows. Inside, the space is infused with natural light and double-high ceilings. The premise is column-free for the first 100 ft. and offers 19-ft. clearance at the mezzanine. It’s the perfect backdrop for a marquee brand or company looking to make a statement. 
What you get: Ground Floor - 4,488 sq. ft. Mezzanine: - 850 sq. ft., 2nd Floor - 4,468 sq. ft.,  3rd Floor - 1,573 sq. ft., Basement: 4,320 sq. ft.Total: 15,700 sq. ft.
This flagship opportunity stands out and is sure to be of interest to brokers and prospective tenants seeking a high profile and a very high-traffic location with fabulous co-tenants, including Victoria’s Secret, Browns, Claires, BMO and more.
Sainte-Catherine Street West is a shopping destination known around the world and this stunning property will put the right brand on the map. For leasing information, contact the Think Retail Team.

Fossil debuts new ‘Makers’ concept store at CF Toronto Eaton Centre

June 07, 2018

The time is right for Fossil’s newly designed retail concept store, which is now open at CF Toronto Eaton Centre.
Replacing the former Fossil store, this new 1,458-sq.-ft. ‘Makers’ concept is the first of its kind in the world and celebrates the unique craftsmanship and services on which the brand has built its reputation.
Located on Level 2, amid a number of high-end retailers, the fresh, well-designed, space highlights the spirit of Makers and focuses on product-related services, continuing the brand’s ever-present goal to enhance and improve the overall brand experience.
New materials and color palettes, including tonal gray, brass finishes, brick floor and pops of black, give the store a soft modern feel: Everything is modular, adding a unique flexibility for both selling and storytelling. The design elements were chosen specifically to lean into the concept of celebrating craftsmanship, which has been one of the founding principles of Fossil brand since its inception more than 30 years ago.
“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,‘‘ says Steve Evans, Executive Vice President for Fossil. “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.’’
The front of the 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 designed specifically for the local market, including the Toronto skyline and a maple leaf.  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.
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, 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 publically-trade company continues to beat market forecast and expectations, reporting two consecutive quarters of comparable store increases and a stock price that is at or near its 52-week high.
It’s an exciting time for this much-admired brand and Think Retail is thrilled to share that Fossil is now considering opening a new location in Canada in 2019. In the meantime, the company will continue building its Maker concept and more are expected to open on the global stage, with the next rollout likely in Asia.
For more, visit or contact the Think Retail team.

Sugarfina opens luxury candy store at Oakridge Centre in Vancouver

June 04, 2018

Sugarfina has a taste for Canadian expansion after opening it second stand-alone candy boutique here, this time catering to lucky shoppers at Oakridge Centre in Vancouver.
The 420 sq. ft. boutique opened in early May and features the brand’s fresh modern palette of white and robin’s egg blue. The space is well-positioned close to Aritzia, Saje, Gap, Swarovski and Oak & Fort in the recently renovated marquee shopping centre. Sugarfina is already drawing huge crowds, who are eager to try its famous confectionary.  
Think Retail is thrilled to work with this inspiring brand. Dubbed the ultimate candy shop for grownups, its array of treats cater to a discerning palette with premium and whimsical takes on old favourites, including champagne-infused gummies, peach Bellini sugar candies, maple bourbon balls, single malt scotch cordials and more.
Power couple Rosie O'Neill and Josh Resnick founded the innovative concept after watching an episode of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. They decided kids shouldn’t have all the fun so the duo embarked on a world tour, visiting fine candy makers and sourcing unique treats. They launched on online candy shop in 2012 and the following year opened their first boutique in Beverley Hills.
Today, Sugarfina has more than 25 across the United States, a number of shop-in-shops with Nordstrom and a rotation of pop-up locations. It debuted in Canada in November 2017 with a 950 sq. ft. boutique at Metropolis at Metrotown in Burnaby, B.C.
Canadians are embracing the decadent concept we expect to share further exciting news soon.  To learn more, visit or contact the Think Retail team.  

French chocolatier Jeff de Bruges brings decadent treats to Quebec

April 23, 2018

French chocolatier and ice cream house Jeff de Bruges has a taste for Quebec expansion, with plans to open two delicious new locations.
Philippe Jambon created the retail concept in France in 1986 and began franchising in 1988. The company introduced ice cream to the retail mix in 1990 and dialed up growth.
Today Jeff de Bruges operates more than 500 stores across France, including corporate and franchises, and 38 international locations, including one in Canada.
The popular retail concept debuted here in 2014 at Place Montreal Trust and continues to draw followers, who love its combination of exquisite Belgian chocolates, as well as ice cream and other treats.
Think Retail is thrilled to work with Jeff de Bruges as it moves ahead with plans to open two additional locations in Quebec. Ideal spaces are 700 to 1,000 sq. ft., with a primary focus on super regional malls.
This is a wonderful tenant that draws repeat customers seeking beautiful gifts or personal indulgences. While chocolates are imported from Belgium, in Canada, the company works local ice cream brand Bilboque.
Jeff de Bruges stores are fresh and fun, with a modern turquoise and brown palette, as well as large windows so passersby are drawn in to explore and spend. The overall feel is industrial chic and items are displayed in unique ways, such as the wall-mounted chocolate tablet, for an in-store experience that is comfortable, yet upscale.
Products are beautifully packaged and gifts are personalized in store with ribbons and keepsake boxes.
Jeff de Bruges is a strong brand with international presence and is ideally positioned to expand in Canada. The company has huge market awareness in Europe and boasts turnover of more than $330 million in 2017.
For more about this fantastic brand and its growth plans for Quebec, explore the Jeff de Bruges website, or contact the Think Retail team.