The Vintage Trend - Boutique Carole
Boutique Carole landed on Mail Champlain following a chance encounter between one of the boutique's co-founders and Cominar's Vice President of Leasing and Retail. While the VP was busy with his garage sale, the co-founder, who was looking for unique pieces for his boutique, couldn't help but ask the VP if he could purchase... the shirt he was wearing!
Although our VP decided to keep his shirt, a very informative discussion ensued. The Cominar VP learned that Boutique Carole was operating out of the bedroom of one of the co-founders at the time, and was born out of a desire to counteract fast fashion by offering carefully selected second-hand garments to today's consumers. Their adventure started on Instagram before taking the internet by storm with an online store, a brand, and an attractive marketing strategy.
Cominar immediately identified a business partnership opportunity and offered the young business owners a competitive 12-month lease at Mail Champlain. This would enable them to get closer to their clientele, simplify their operations by managing their inventory (which was starting to pile up in the parents' house) more efficiently and increase their visibility. Vincent Legros, Zachary Reffo and Xavier St-Onge-Leduc, the three brains behind Boutique Carole, decided to take the plunge and signed the lease with Cominar.
The first month of operation was a rousing success. Sales were much higher than expected and the excitement surrounding their first store exceeded the expectations of the new tenants. Their clientele kept coming back for more!
After making their mark on the South Shore, where they are originally from, the founders took on the challenge of conquering the North Shore and began their adventure in Laval by testing the waters with a pop-up at DUO Centre Laval in April 2023. The reception was just as positive and suggests an incredible future for Boutique Carole. One thing is certain, the vintage trend is here to stay.
Through this partnership, Cominar has seized the opportunity to partner with a young company that shares the community's eco-responsible values and to accompany it in its business development.
... Their adventure started on Instagram before taking the internet by storm with an online store, a brand, and an attractive marketing strategy.
Ô Dépanneur - Exotic Snacks
When brothers Carl and Ted Laguerre decide to start their own business to pursue their passion for gourmet discoveries and snacks, success awaits them with open arms. Inspired by a concept dear to Quebecers, the dépanneur, the two brothers chose to rely on the power of nostalgia to energize a simple concept and open their first new wave convenience store in Cartierville in May 2021.
With great marketing skills and a solid business plan, they quickly won the hearts of young and old alike. Their selection of exotic candy, one-of-a-kind flavoured soft drinks, and rare and surprising novelties seduced a large clientele. Their online sales service is also quickly becoming known and attracts customers from all over the province. Some of these customers even travel for several hours to experience the traditional yet innovative world of this new wave convenience store.
Cominar's specialty leasing team saw the potential of this project and reached out to the owners with the idea of moving into Alexis Nihon. Near Dawson College and in the heart of downtown Montreal, this was a prime location for Ô Dépanneur's business, thanks in part to the high daily traffic.
The timing was perfect: the brothers were thinking about expanding, and Cominar's tailor-made offer ticked all the boxes. Ô Dépanneur thus became the first new wave convenience store to open in a shopping centre in the Montreal area.
Supported by the specialty leasing team, the brothers were given full rein to transform and adapt the space to their business needs. After extensive renovations, Ô Dépanneur officially opened its doors downtown Montreal in August 2022, less than two years after the opening of its first store.
Setting up shop in the heart of the action at Alexis Nihon gives Ô Dépanneur access to a new customer group, with whom the company can maintain direct contact. The business' fame and visibility have only increased since their arrival.
The strategic location and the specialty leasing team's proactivity have allowed Ô Dépanneur to make their mark on the Montreal commercial landscape and to develop their business with efficiency and simplicity. Cominar is proud to be the business partner of a local company that stands out through its innovation.
... Their selection of exotic candy, one-of-a-kind flavoured soft drinks, and rare and surprising novelties seduced a large clientele.
Cercle Achetons plus ici
With the rise of the local purchasing trend, especially during the global pandemic, our specialized leasing team was able to seize the opportunity to quickly respond to the evolving needs of our customers.
In December 2020, Cominar joined the Cercle API (Achetons.Plus.Ici) initiative of the Centre québécois d'innovation en commerce (CQIC), which aims to promote local purchasing and accelerate the digital transformation of businesses through the adoption of Quebec-based technological solutions. This partnership reflects our desire to support our retailers and improve their appeal, thereby revitalizing our shopping centres.
"We are proud to support our retailers in their digital transformation," said Jean-Marc Rouleau, Vice President, Retail Operations, Cominar. "By putting them in touch with CQIC and their local purchasing initiative, they will have access to the tools and resources they need to tackle this important shift.”
What is the Cercle API?
Initially, teams of students go meet with retailers to capture data and present them with various technological solutions to help them in their digital transformation.
A living lab is also established in the shopping centre to offer both a new gift shopping destination for consumers and a hub of innovative solutions for retailers. This living lab includes:
- A smart pop-up store featuring Quebec-based products,
- A full showroom of Quebec-based technological solutions made for retailers,
- Specialized support to accelerate the technological transformation of a business,
- A live shopping studio, to allow you to experience this new sales channel. The API advisers will take care of training you and filming your session, and;
- Training on-site.
The Cercle API stopped at Centropolis, DUO|Centre Laval, and Alexis Nihon, and will continue its journey to other Cominar shopping centres across Quebec. Stay tuned by following our networks to know the next stops.
... promote local purchasing and accelerate the digital transformation of businesses through the adoption of Quebec-based technological solutions.
Brand Space (Eläma)
Brand Space was launched at Rockland in October 2017 to showcase a series of unique brands and innovative concepts on a rotating basis. It is the brainchild of Cominar's Specialty Leasing team and the marketing professionals at Rockland. The basic idea goes like this: make a versatile space in the shopping centre available on a pop-up basis and adapt the space to the needs, values and features of each brand. Ingenious, yes. Bold, yes. Complex… yes.
First up to give this new experience a whirl was Eläma, founded by two fashion-forward sisters from Montreal who had already begun branching out internationally with their high-end, contemporary and sustainability-minded fur and leather creations. They signed up for a five-month stint at Rockland, giving them an offline pied-à-terre to connect directly with shoppers. Eläma had already enjoyed success as part of the Cabinet Éphémère concept, a pop-up shop featuring a range of Quebec designers.
A red-carpet launch was organized to introduce the brand-new concept to some top personalities from the Montreal scene. A video was also produced to explain the Brand Space concept and promote the launch.
Rockland's Brand Space is an opportunity par excellence for new brands and retailers to test the waters of the Montreal market and discover the multiple and unmatchable benefits of a shopping centre environment. And Cominar makes the experience as easy and hassle-free as possible, with one-on-one support and turnkey services designed with their needs in mind.
As the Brand Space concept adjusts and adapts to successive brands over time, we are sure to find new and effective ways to minimize the effort required and maximize the impact in terms of customer traffic, sales and visibility - both in-mall and through various media.
The resulting media coverage supported Eläma in their efforts to improve their market visibility and connect with new customers. Proof positive that the winning formula developed by the Specialty Leasing team can deliver decisive results in the short term that are bound to pay off over the long term.
Watch for the next partnership at the Rockland Brand Space - to be announced soon!