When Tsawwassen Mills opens on October 5, shoppers in Vancouver and the lower Mainland will experience a mall like no other in the province.
Modelled after Toronto’s Vaughan Mills and Calgary’s CrossIron Mills, Tsawwassen Mills is a hybrid concept that combines the best of a traditional shopping mall with the savings of an outlet mall and adds the added attraction of dining and entertainment options.
“The Mills concept is different than the typical regional mall,” said Tsawwassen Mills General Manager Mark Fenwick. “It’s got this combination of premium fashion outlet stores at regular prices, but also has outlet stores at outlet prices which is very attractive to consumers these days.”
Located at the intersection of Highway 17 and 52nd Street in south Delta, not far from the Tsawwassen ferry terminal, the 1.2 million-square-foot shopping centre is fully enclosed and can accommodate 200 stores. When its doors open in October, more than 180 stores will be ready to welcome shoppers, including several which are new to Vancouver and British Columbia.
“The largest anchor, which we’re very excited about it, is Bass Pro Shops,” said Fenwick. “They’re 150,000 square feet so they are the largest store and it’s their first store in B.C. It will be only their sixth store in Canada.”
Bass Pro Shops is well-known as a store for outdoors and camping enthusiasts, but a new twist is that they are introducing their restaurant concept into this new store: Uncle Buck’s Fish Bowl. It combines a sit-down, family, grill-style restaurant along with a 12-lane bowling alley.
“I think people will find it a lot of fun to go there,” said Fenwick. “They are also a licensed premises.”
New stores for Vancouver shoppers
Tsawwassen Mills will have many exciting anchor stores that include several fashion favourites and some retailers that are new to B.C. This list includes:
Other stores that are new to Vancouver-area shoppers include Michael Kors Outlet ,The Outlet by Harry Rosen, only their second outlet store in Canada, women’s fashion retailer Marc Cain (first to market in BC), Brooks Brothers Factory store, and many others.
Something for everyone
Even though the mall has a strong fashion component, Fenwick thinks that husbands and boyfriends will want to tag along with their significant others when they shop at Tsawwassen Mills because of the stores that cater to outdoors and sports enthusiasts.
“We offer something for everybody,” he said. “A lot of men aren’t big shoppers, but they will be when they come here because of Bass Pro Shops and some of the menswear stores and other outdoor stores. There’s also a great comfort lounge for people to sit if they’re waiting for someone else shopping. It’s a great experience for everyone. It’s not a traditional shopping centre which is more dominated by the woman shopper.”
Another retailer that Fenwick expects will be a hit is Pro Hockey Life, a store that has been very successful in Ontario and is bound to be embraced by a market as hockey-mad as Vancouver.
For younger guys and girls who like skateboarding, Fenwick added that Urban Planet and West 49 will have a skate park at the back of their store for those who want to try out their skateboarding moves.
Mall has a First Nations connection
Montreal-based Ivanhoe-Cambridgehas invested nearly $600 million to develop the mall, generating 4,500 construction jobs in the process and 3,000 full- and part-time positions once the centre finally opens. The investment won’t only benefit the Lower Mainland region, but also the local Tsawwassen First Nation on whose land the mall is built.
“We’re pleased to be working with them,” said Fenwick. “As part of our development agreement with TFN there is a benefit package to their members which will help them in their economic development as they go forward.”
The developers have also worked with Tsawwassen artisans with the design of the mall. “We have incorporated their designs and some of their work into the shopping centre so you’ll see that as you walk around. It ranges from carvings to some amenities that have been inspired by their design,” said Fenwick.
Even though it’s big, the mall is easy to navigate
Getting around the mall will be easy. Each of the six entrances is numbered and the interior is divided into five themed neighbourhoods.
“The decor and finishes are different so it helps identify those neighbourhoods, such as the fashion neighbourhood, which is the largest one,” explained Fenwick, “The nature neighbourhood, city neighbourhood, Coast Salish neighbourhood, which is a nod to the local First Nation peoples and finally, the outdoor life neighbourhood which is themed around some our sports stores.”
Fenwick added that there will be plenty of other customer service touches that are unlike those offered by most malls, such as a parcel pickup service where overburdened shoppers can leave their packages, continue with their shopping, then have their parcels delivered directly to their cars.
“We’ll have a strong guest services component to help customers with their basic needs when they are here, whether it’s help with charging their phone, stroller rentals, electric scooters for customers with mobility issues, gift wrapping and so on,” added Fenwick.
Attracting shoppers from all over
Because of its central proximity to the Lower Mainland, as many as 2.5 million people can reach the mall within 30 to 45 minutes by car, but Fenwick expects they will attract shoppers from communities like Surrey, Langley and Abbotsford, not to mention the many people who come through the area from Vancouver Island via the ferry.
“We’re going to help those customers out by offering complimentary shuttle service between the ferry terminal and the shopping centre,” he said.
And then there are shoppers from the U.S. “We’re only 30 minutes from the border so it’s an easy trip for them and we’ll have some interesting stores that they are not used to seeing and with the Canadian dollar where it’s at, it’s an attractive value proposition for the U.S. shopper to come here,” stated Fenwick.
The doors officially open at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 5. In the run-up to the Grand Opening, Tsawwassen Mills will have announcements about special activities and promotions for avid shoppers at www.tsawwassenmills.ca.