The new Pacific Centre Nordstrom opened its doors to the media today revealing what will likely be a game changer in the downtown retail scene.
The new 230,000-square-foot, three-level store carries a number of exclusive-to-Canada brands, but at the same time also offers many of the same designers currently available at other retailers. What will likely distinguish Nordstrom could hinge on one word: service.
“We will open with a full-service concierge department,” Nordstrom spokesperson John Bailey, who led the tour, told media. “They can tell you about great destinations to visit; they will also check your bags while you are shopping, and if you need an umbrella or cab, they are happy to help with that as well.”
The store will also offer 24-hour fashion emergency service – meaning if you have a middle of the night fashion fiasco, Nordstrom’s got you covered, literally. You can dial up downtown Nordstrom for a fashion helpline that will deliver (for free, except of course the cost of the apparel) a new set of threads to get you through.
“It’s great for people who might lose their luggage on a trip to Vancouver and might need a great suit for the next morning, for that meeting that is really important, and so you can call that phone number and someone will be there to assist,” Bailey explained.
The store will also offer free delivery to downtown Vancouver, language assistants to help shoppers, a VIP shopping room (a designer showroom with contemporary couches and a view that looks out to the Vancouver Art Gallery).
The space itself is a welcome departure from the claustrophobic, dark, box-like experience of the old Eaton’s/Sears building on the corner of Howe and Robson streets, replaced with windows that show off the city rather than trap shoppers in. The main floor features shoes, handbags, jewelry, beauty, and a coffee shop, and is peppered with art installations, including several by Canadian artists, and smiling, stylishly dressed staffers who were busily preparing for the onslaught of eager shoppers. The second floor houses womenswear, including luxury designers and mid-range lines, while the top floor has menswear and childrenswear, along with a full-service restaurant.
The childrenswear department includes a playhouse with a flatscreen TV. Meanwhile, men can get their shoes shined for a mere $2.50, or grab a booze-filled beverage at Habitant, a cocktail lounge plopped right in the middle of the second floor.
“That’s very important to us, that we can satisfy the needs of the entire family here,” Chris Wanlass, a 23-year company veteran, who is running the new store, said during the Thursday morning tour.
Menswear includes edgy brands Rag & Bone, Acne, A.P.C., along with Vancouver-made Wings & Horns. For women, the store offers designer shops such as Alexander McQueen (ready-to-wear), Burberry, Chloe, and Stella McCartney (ready-to-wear). Exclusive Nordstrom Vancouver lines making their local debut include Alice + Olivia, Madewell, and Equipment.
Nordstrom’s foray into Canada started last fall, when it opened its first cross-border store in Calgary. A second location opened in Ottawa last month. Vancouver is next with the official opening date set for Sept. 18, then three stores in Toronto over the next two years.