Upscale Toronto-based multi-brand womenswear retailer Andrews is expanding, as well as enhancing its existing operations. Andrews will open its third location this fall, featuring innovative interiors, curated fashion collections, and exceptional customer service. We spoke with President and co-owner Darren Mason about what’s in store for the retailer.
Andrews was founded as a ‘mini-department store’ for women at Toronto’s Hazelton Lanes shopping centre (rebranding as ‘Yorkville Village’) in 1991. In 1999, a second location, measuring about 6,000 square feet, opened at Toronto’s Bayview Village shopping centre. This fall, a third Andrews store will open in the expansion wing of Toronto’s Sherway Gardens and similar to Bayview Village, it will measure about 6,000 square feet. Stores feature a variety of American and European designer and contemporary brands, including ready-to-wear, accessories, and handbags.
Mr. Mason explained that although Andrews is focused on Toronto, it could move into other Canadian markets if opportunities present. The retailer is currently containing its growth to Toronto, however, especially as it focuses on customer service — an advantage it has over many competitors. Andrews endeavours to create an ’emotionally rewarding’ experience for its shoppers, featuring a concierge-like one-on-one personalized experience for its visitors. Intimacy distinguishes Andrews from larger stores, while its scope of designer brands and product exceeds that of most specialty retailers. Mr. Mason explained how Andrews is positioning itself as a destination retailer and how its collections are curated for its target market — the modern woman who is polished, confident, current, and a bit edgy with her fashion choices.
The new Sherway Gardens store will feature innovative store interiors, mixing woods, leather, marble and metal. Architecture will be dynamic and modern, distinguishing it from the previous interiors of its Hazelton Lanes store which Toronto Life once described as being similar to a suburban Lord & Taylor location in Florida.
Mr. Mason, himself, spends a considerable amount of time on the sales floor. He explained how he is constantly learning and, as well, how business benefits from knowing its customer. In this time of significant retail expansion in Canada, personalization and uniqueness will distinguish retailers like Andrews from the competition.