I was invited to attend the media preview of the new Simons in Gatineau last night, that is set to open its doors at 11 a.m. this morning inside Les Promenades Gatineau shopping mall. The good news is that Simons is also scheduled to open an Ottawa location on Aug. 11, 2016 at the Rideau Centre.
One of Canada’s oldest family owned company’s, Simons is now being led by Peter Simons, CEO and 5th generation Simons family member. We had the pleasure of getting a personally guided tour of the store with Peter and had an opportunity to get cozy with Simons true Mission and Vision.
Here are 10 things that I learned last night:
- Simons is one of the oldest Canadian family owned business, founded in 1812 by Peter Simons in Quebec City.
- The Simons family business model is all about supporting local and doing world class business in Canada. Although this may cost them more, they are passionate about being a fully Canadian business.
- Simons loves to experiment with different brands that offer a creative and fashion forward feel at a great value. These sub-brands will evolve as fashion trends do, but the Simon brands focus on remaining classic and timeless.
- Simons is a large supporter of Canadian Arts and Culture and believes that they need to be integrated in their community. They also strive to support as many smaller initiatives as best as they can.
- Every store has a creative Canadian collaboration, including Douglas Coupland and Julie Tremblay. For the Simons Gatineau store, Julie Tremblay has created “Metamorphique” a large scale art installation in the centre of the store, suspended between positive and negative spaces in the ceiling. This large piece was created in her Brooklyn studio and disassembled into 18 pieces to be relocated to the store. It took 1 year to create. The inspiration behind this concept comes from the patterns we see in the movement of nature, whether organic or inorganic matter. The textures and shapes in this piece also resemble the movement of textiles and fabric.
- Every store is carefully designed with architecture in mind, to maximize the shoppers experience.
- All clothing is available to purchase online, but their major focus is serving their clients in-store with a true Canadian customer service approach.
- Although Simons doesn’t carry a specific Plus-Size line, their “Contemporaine” brand, targeted to a more mature crowd, goes up to XXL.
- Simons is working on a few initiatives to reduce their carbon footprint and provide more eco-friendly options. They are looking for discovery brands that are advancing environmental and social initiatives.
- Simons approach to fashion is allowing women and men to mix their brands, which is why they carry a wide range of price point and style selection.
Thank you to Emily Lynne Smith from The Best of this Life for capturing some shots of me swooning over the purse section at Simons!