TORONTO — After three-and-a-half years of planning and 18 months of construction, Holt Renfrew added the latest jewel to its network with the opening of its store at Square One Shopping Centre in Mississauga — Canada’s sixth-largest city.
Situated at the entrance of Square One’s new luxury wing, dignitaries and eager shoppers alike had to crane their heads to fully view the entranceway to Holt’s “elevated flagship,” replete with towering magenta banners and imposing, floor-to-ceiling granite.
With its 180th anniversary approaching in 2017, Holt Renfrew president Mark Derbyshire — who is exiting in September, to be succeeded by Mario Grauso — called this addition “a milestone” for the company and one which “reinforces Holt Renfrew’s position as Canada’s specialty luxury retailer.”
“As part of our dynamic growth plan, including a $300 million commitment to enhance and expand our network, Holt Renfrew Square One sets a new standard for luxury while continuing to be Canada’s leader in bringing bespoke services, elegant style and fine craftsmanship to customers,” said Derbyshire.
Holts’ re-envisioning for Square One also reflects the company’s current strategy to expand its network by focusing on key flagship markets and larger, more luxurious stores.
At 130,000 square feet and nearly four times the size of its store at Toronto’s Sherway Gardens, the two-story store was designed by New York architectural firm Janson Goldstein. It features soaring ceilings — up to 30 feet in some areas — as well as atriums, a dramatic open staircase and unobstructed sight lines across the 90,000-square-foot main floor
Holt’s bigger, bolder and more eco-friendly state of luxe also includes gleaming finishes, imposing art installations and LED lighting throughout the store.
“All these finishes, from the artwork to the marble floors from Italy and Greece, speak to the evolution of our vision for Holt Renfrew and the way we cater to our customers,” said Natalie Penno, Holt’s vice president of network and design.
“Eighty percent of the store is now open for business. But what you see shows how Holt Renfrew is upping the ante,” said Penno.
The expanse of the main floor’s fashion, jewelry, beauty and men’s departments is strategically grand yet inviting.
“I think one of the most outstanding features here is the way the light shifts as you move through the store. In some areas it’s intimate. In our beauty department it’s more crisp so customers can see how the makeup they like will look on their skin,” said Penno.
“The great sight lines also make customer navigation easy here. But all of this a constant evolution. If you don’t evolve you won’t stay in the lead,” she said.
Holt’s Square One location now offers a bevy of luxury designers and ready-to-wear labels including Gucci, Prada, Valentino, Stella McCartney, Hugo Boss, Akris, Kenzo, Tiffany, See by Chloé, Manolo Blahnik, Jimmy Choo, Aquazurra, Stuart Weitzman and others.
The store also features 2,500 square feet on the mezzanine level dedicated to personal shopping, including a master tailor and certified watchmaker; concierge and valet; shoe shine and cleaning services, and a resident leather artisan able to add bespoke details to leather accessories and do full-service repairs.
“When our customers invest in a great designer handbag or watch they need to know how to care for them for years to come. These new services can help our customers do that,” said Alison Simpson, Holt’s senior vice president of marketing and customer experience.
Holt’s Square One location also features a Beauty Lab and Style Studio offering VIP access to designer products; five upper-level shopping suites, and a private apartment where guests can leisurely shop through Holt’s exclusives aided by a personal assistant.
“This store has raised the bar for us. It gives our customers the best of a world experience. But in doing that, we’re also celebrating who we are as a great Canadian company,” Simpson said.