WATCH: We are getting our first look at the new Nordstrom department store in downtown Vancouver. Leigh Kjekstad with more on why the American retail giant feels it can succeed where others have failed.
After years of renovations, anticipation, and speculation, the wait is almost over.
Retail giant Nordstrom is set to open their doors to the Vancouver public next Friday, promising they will meet expectations.
“They didn’t want us to bring Nordstrom Lite, they wanted us to bring the full Nordstrom experience, and we’ve worked really really hard to do that,” says John Bailey, a company spokesperson.
Outside, the infamous “giant toilet bowl” exterior of the old Sears store has been dramatically refurbished.
Inside, the store has a group changeroom for teenage girls to try on clothes together, a VIP area for high-end shoppers, a free charging stations for phones – even a bar.
“If they can emulate what they do in the States, we’re going to see a really, really special take on the idea of service and customer care,” says David Ian Gray, a retail expert.
Everyone talks about it, but Nordstrom really lives it.”
Whether the company lives up to the hype is another question. Past expansions by retail companies into Canada have often disappointed customers, most famously with Target, which opened 133 stores in Canada in a month, only to liquidate them all within two years.
But Nordstrom says it’s taking it slow. Only six stores are being opened in Canada over the next three years, and every manager – all locally hired – spent seven weeks in a Seattle store to better understand the company’s culture.
“We’re able to really focus on opening each and every store and giving our entire effort. Once we open our store, we’re going to start to listen and learn from customers right away,” says Bailey.
They can start listening on September 18.