Another major department store has set up shop in the Metro Vancouver market; One of Canada’s oldest retailers has established a major presence in the region as part of its ambitious expansion plans across Canada beyond Quebec.
Metro Vancouver’s first La Maison Simons store location, or simply ‘Simons’, opened its doors to shoppers at Park Royal shopping centre in West Vancouver this morning. The high-end fashion department store spans 100,000 square feet over two storeys of a newly built expansion at the shopping centre.
It is less than half the size of the recently opened Nordstrom Vancouver store and approximately three times the footprint of downtown Vancouver H&M and Topman/Topshop locations.
Simons carries a highly diverse mix of high-end designer lines, including a number of brands that are new to the region, and cheap-chic private labels distributed through the store within a series of intimate boutiques. Women’s apparel and a small linen boutique are located on the main floor while men’s apparel equitably occupies the entire second floor.
But this is no ordinary department store when it comes to customer experience as the 175-year-old retailer is known for its dedication to high-quality contemporary architecture and innovative interior designs.
The West Vancouver store building has a Salish weaving-inspired exterior facade design that pays homage to the store’s presence on Squamish Nation territory. Pre-fabricated concrete panels are stacked like a repeating chevron pattern to provide an appearance of stacked blankets.
Simons has also incorporated three art pieces created by local artists. This includes a multicoloured ‘Bow Tie’ sculpture by locally celebrated author and artist Douglas Coupland suspended high above the store’s two-storey central atrium, a Salish hand gesture greeting-shaped sandblasted granite relief piece by Squamish Nation artist Jody Broomfield at the store’s south entrance, and a ceramic wall sculpture with 50 brilliantly coloured flowers symbolizing feminine rebellion by West Vancouver painter and sculptor Bobbie Burgers.
On the second floor adjacent to the central atrium’s escalators, Simons has built a 50-seat cafe complete with a French-Canadian inspired menu with items like fresh bagels, French onion soup, chicken fricassee and treats like beignes.
“We strive to create compelling, original shopping environments that speak to the local community,” said Simons CEO Peter Simons in a statement. “Nowhere have we achieved this more than at Park Royal.”
“We hope to inspire the Vancouver market through Simons’ unique shopping experience which integrates fashion, art and architecture.”
The West Vancouver store opened its doors to the public at 9:30 a.m. this morning. This is Simons’ eleventh store and the second outside Quebec after the recently opened West Edmonton Mall location.
Over the next several years, more stores are slated for Mississauga, Calgary and Toronto plus secondary locations in Edmonton and Ottawa. Other locations in the Metro Vancouver region are also planned.
Vancouver’s fashion retail industry has seen remarkable growth over the past year with the opening of Nordstrom, McArthurGlen Vancouver Airport Outlet Centre, and a number of luxury brands such as Versace Home and St. John Knits.
In the near future, Uniqlo and Saks Fifth Avenue will also be making their entrances into the region.
Note: these photos were taken during Simons’ VIP event on Wednesday evening.The lighting depicted in these photos does not reflect the actual in-store experience.