Saturday, 3 October 2015

New Hip Retailer in Town

Lots of people came in for their first visit to Nordstrom to take a look
Vancouver's retail scene was not doing well in the past decade, Sears, a large department store brand in the downtown area died, and left an empty shell that was previously inhabited by Eaton's.

So it was a mixture of relief and excitement to find US department store Nordstrom was taking over the space. Not only was the store going to gentrify the area, but also occupy one of the hottest locations in the area.

Cute gourmet candies by Sugarfina, but would you buy them?
It finally opened to much fanfare two weeks ago and I got a chance to take a quick look yesterday.

Once you walk in the atmosphere is bright, white, and the feeling of lots of space despite lots of merchandise displayed everywhere. Happy pop music is playing in the background and lots of staff in stylish clothes are standing around and smiling, greeting customers.

On the ground floor there's a small shop called Sugarfina that sells gourmet gummy bears, white chocolates that are painted to look like green olives, and even a candy that tastes like champagne. Prices here start from CAD$8.50 ($6.50) for a small box. But as my girlfriend and I said later, who is going to buy candy when many of us are trying to cut sugar from our diets?

Near the candy shop is a coffee shop called eBar to cater to java aficionados. Prices there looked somewhat reasonable, though it's almost CAD$20 for a glass bottle to hold water.

People on the right line up for a table for lunch
Upstairs was the women's designer fashion and I eyed a black lace top that was a whopping CAD$995, and that's not including 14 percent tax. The sales girl pronounced the top as one of her favourites and I asked her if Nordstrom was competing head to head with luxury retailer Holt Renfrew nearby.

She said that while Holt Renfrew focused  solely on luxury -- and Nordstrom's high end section was competing with the Canadian retailer, there wasn't much else in common, saying Nordstrom offered a wide price range for all kinds of consumers.

I asked her if she had worked in retail before since she sounded so chipper, but it turned out she had just graduated with a degree in philosophy before getting what she called, "A big girl's job".

The third floor featured menswear and there was also space for a restaurant called Bistro Verde. When I was there it was almost noon and there was a lineup to get a table. Looks like it's already the place for dining.

The artistic signage for the washrooms on the third floor
We checked out the washrooms and they were clean and spacious. We liked the sign for men and women, which was actually a piece of art! Called "Dick and Jane" by Tim Yankosky, the two well-known symbols are actually made of vintage rulers.

Nordstrom is not only hip and stylish, but also artistically cool.


  1. Nordstrom is popular here in Walnut Creek too.

  2. And right next door to Nordstrom, is Nieman Marcus.