So it has begun. Part of Park Royal‘s $150 million expansion and renovation was officially unveiled this past Saturday, November 30th, 2013. The expansion project includes 300,000 square feet of new retail space, some of which shoppers can experience as part of Park Royal South.
Style by Fire was there on the grand opening day, observing festivities such as opening remarks by the Mayor of West Vancouver, a speech by Rick Amantea, Park Royal’s VP of Community Partnerships & Development, and blessing ceremonies by Squamish Nation representatives as Park Royal sits on Native land. Two art pieces were unveiled during the ceremony, one of which is pictured above.
Stores opened in time for the launch included Ann Taylor’s LOFT, Sephora, Anthropologie, LUSH Cosmetics, J.Crew and Zara.
According to Retail Insider, LOFT opened its first Vancouver-area store on November 15th. The younger sister line to Ann Taylor, LOFT opened its first store in Yorkdale in 2012. This one in Park Royal marks its 6th in a year’s time. We can see rapid expansion from this brand, which I’m sure has been very well received.
When we checked out the store, I was surprised to find the price points in a fantastic price range. Many items were under $100.
Sarah Bancroft, editor of Vitamin Daily, hosted the store opening. She had a rack of Editor’s Picks, which included the versatile black she’s seen wearing.
Anthropologie opened its 2nd location at Park Royal, the first being on South Granville. In other cities I’ve traveled to, I’ve always noticed there was an Anthropologie in the main downtown core. In Vancouver, it’s not quite the case. Both South Granville and West Vancouver are considered more destination shopping areas, as in most of the folks in Vancouver must make a special trip out there. I’m not certain whether this is simply a case of availability and timing in terms of real estate. But with the higher price points, a slower introduction to higher-traffic shopping areas, and building a solid fan base in premium markets might be a good bet.
As always, Anthropologie has unbeatable merchandising. We saw some of the nicest styled dining tables there! Shoppers here, however, do pay a premium for the extravagant decor. Picking up a simple printed greeting card, I thought might be something around $5; turned out to be $8. Just because I’m a budget shopper doesn’t mean everyone else is. On Park Royal’s opening day there was no shortage of shoppers flying through Anthropologie’s doors.
The 3rd J. Crew at Park Royal follows Vancouver’s first on Robson Street, and the second in Pacific Centre. A move to reach non-downtown residents makes total sense for this brand. Although I’m sure a huge portion of their fans are corporate workers, the relaxed casual styles the brand offers definitely fits the West Van demographic.
One shopping conundrum I always have is with winter coats. If it looks pretty, it’s not warm. Or vice versa. This orange jacket I tried on is seriously one of the best I’ve tried on in the past few years! It’s your standard double-breasted coat that comes in an intersting orange colour.
It’s no surprise when I looked at the tag inside, it read “Stadium Cloth by Nello Gori.” According to the J.Crew website, their stadium cloth is exclusively made by the famed Italian Nello Gori factory inspired by fabric used in old-school stadium blankets. It’s “a compact, high-density wool that adds tremendous warmth without the bulk.”
Warmth and style. I like.
This is one of the largest Zara locations in Vancouver, with the men’s section taking up as much real estate as the women’s. We walked in through Zara Man, and were greeted by an army of 6 mannequins. The rest of the store was equally impressive. For me, it was the first time seeing such a grand display of men’s clothing in compartments. Shoppers would go through various sections of the store, as if it were different closets to choose from.
Store design wise, I also loved the huge TV screen above the cash desk. What better way to keep a man entertained during the act of shopping. Although the stylish men who come through the store are likely more than willing to be there. Also loved the accessories section where scarves, bow ties, hats, and fragrances were neatly displayed in a much more organized and high-end manner. If you check out the Zara at Park Royal, I recommend going in through the men’s side first.
Words by Miranda Sam