MJ Huxley, who handles marketing for mall owner Royal Courtyards Property Management in Bolton, ON, said it’s one of the most recent retail acquisitions for the mall, which had had a bit of a struggle in recent years.
That’s as a result of having part of its property expropriated and then experiencing access problems and poor visibility due the new sunken Herb Gray Parkway border access road, which runs alongside Hwy. 3.
(The mall has been in deliberations for more than three years with the Ontario Ministry of Transportation to have directional signs placed along the roadside.)
The new Columbia Factory Store is larger than the former outlet but why the company decided to re-enter the Windsor market isn’t specifically known.
Several calls to company media reps in the retailer’s Oregon headquarters and in Canada went unreturned.
But obviously re-entering the market has proved fortuitous, if initial signs are an indication.
Said Huxley, “for the third month in a row they have the highest sales in their district and their district is big because there’s not very many Columbia Factory outlets.”
Columbia occupies mall unit 501 just off the Sandwich West Pkwy-Cousineau Rd. entrance.
Shoppers leaving the store last week had bags of merchandise they purchased and were very happy the new store is back in town.
“I was actually trying to find a specific pair of pants for my daughter and the shipping online was really expensive so I was really happy to see them here,” Krista Fraser of LaSalle said.
Fraser said she thinks Columbia has “really good quality” merchandise.
She said her family does a lot of outdoor activities.
“I love the fabrics that they use, they’re really durable, wash really well and they have a great variety of sizes,” she said.
She said the store is bigger than the old one “and I find the selection better.”
Meagan Malley hadn’t known the store had re-entered the market until a friend told her earlier that day.
She loves Columbia products so much that, after the former Windsor store closed, she’d make regular visits to a large warehouse store in London.
Last week at the LaSalle store, Malley found prices of 40 per cent off though some merchandise was 70 per cent off.
“I like the interior (of the building), it has more ambiance I guess, the product line (is great) as well, and the staff is amazing, they know their stuff.”
Whatever corporate head office strategy is for re-entering the Windsor market is, one thing’s for sure: the company is on a roll.
In the first quarter, Canada net sales increased 11 percent largely driven by direct-to-consumer, or company-run, stores.
U.S. net sales increased nine per cent.
Retail store growth has also been strong.
The 80-year-old public company, but which still has a family-run component, operates 130 U.S. retail stores compared with 120 at the same time last year.
There was no information readily available for Canadian stores.