Media, News

All Maison Birks Stores in Canada to be Reopened

When the pandemic forced most businesses worldwide to shutter their doors, Birks Group wasn’t the exception. The luxury jewellery retailer temporarily closed all its Maison Birks stores across Canada to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.

Fast forward several months, and we can now finally revisit all Maison Birks stores, albeit following specific health and safety guidelines.


Concierge Service and Online Shopping

Although all 28 Maison Birks stores across Canada were closed until recently, customers could still shop online. Even with the stores open once again, they can always make orders online and have their timepieces and jewellery delivered straight to their door.

A big part of Birks Group is working closely with clients to help them find their perfect timepiece, necklace, ring, and a wealth of other jewellery pieces.

Following the lockdown, the company launched a concierge service in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Calgary.

The pandemic hasn’t put a stop to celebrations, such as anniversaries and graduations, so Birks made a mission to be there for all its clients. Canadians could make orders by phone or email to get a top-notch concierge service and receive their orders by mail.

Even with all the stores reopened, they can still reach out to Birks by phone to enjoy its luxury concierge service.


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Cannabis & Coffee: Is Mixed-Use Retail Taking Over the Market?

The Canadian cannabis industry has been growing at a steadily fast pace ever since it was officially legalized. With such a huge growth its only natural that this market offers great business opportunities, and why there is a growing number of retail CRE investors looking to get in on the action.

It was only recently, Toronto received its first Aegis Brands recreational cannabis store. Aegis and its investors saw Toronto as a fantastic starting point and the first location to further expand into Ontario, which should be no surprise given the market’s growth. 


From Coffee to Cannabis Coffee

Aegis Brands, formerly known as Second Cup Ltd., was focused on being a coffee retailer with more than 350 cafes and shops Canada-wide. But recently, the company has suffered some losses in recent years, and thought to find a new approach and take to grow. 

With how the retail cannabis market is growing, the company decided to expand beyond coffee and try its hand in the cannabis space. Thus, the name change from Second Cup to Aegis Brands to give rise to a new identity and create a new vision for providing cannabis to consumers.

This new approach sparked the inspiration for the name of the new cannabis dispensaries; being called Hemisphere Cannabis Co. By using the word hemisphere this alludes to the fact they aim to help cannabis consumers, no matter if they’re first-time users or they’ve been shopping for a while; serving the whole breadth or “hemisphere” of potential customers. The environment they aim to create will try to match customers’ desires along with a personalized experience. 

Aegis Brands opened its first Toronto cannabis coffee shop using the same location as a previous Second Cup cafe.

Aegis Brands, like many other stores and CRE investors, are finding that providing mixed-use has a lot of value. Instead of taking over the Second Cup, Aegis Brands chose to instead add value at the same location. Shortly after announcing this new vision, they acquired Bridgehead Coffee, a coffeehouse chain with headquarters in Ottawa. But they won’t stop here, they are still looking for mixed-use opportunities in coffee, cannabis and food service spaces.


More Hemisphere Retail Stores To Come

Aegis Brands is getting more serious about investing in retail cannabis within Ontario, as you can see with the new Hemisphere Cannabis Co. stores already in the works to open at a later date.

Currently, the company plans to open up 3 additional in Toronto, as well as establishing a presence in Ottawa, Ajax, and Orleans later down the line. Everyone can expect new locations to open up in the coming months.

The CEO of Aegis Brands, Steven Pelton, stated in a press release recently: “Given our unparalleled access to top-tier real estate assets across the country, and the incredible shared services that Hemisphere will be able to tap into as part of the Aegis network, we truly believe the potential for this brand is limitless.”



Despite the rough patch with Second Cup cafes recently, Aegis Brands seems to be steering to a brighter path to success. The retail cannabis industry in Canada is not done growing and will continue to do so, so Aegis Brands’ new strategy will help keep the company going much longer. Of course, nothing is for certain, but it’s looking like a smart decision at the moment.

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Retail Reaching New Heights in Edmonton

The coronavirus pandemic has left its mark on many businesses around the world, however, the city of  Edmonton seems to be rising to the challenge.

Alberta’s capital seems completely unphased, and even thriving amidst the crisis – its success continues to be driven by strong retail and increasing interest from foreign and domestic CRE investors.

So, if you were looking for the right Canadian city that can bring a great return on investment, Edmonton might just be it.


It’s Not Only Downtown Edmonton That’s Thriving

While traditionally, most retailers have been focusing on downtown for their new locations, this isn’t the case in Edmonton. The entire city is undergoing a retail revolution, and new shopping centers and locations are being opened all around.

In South Edmonton Common, there’s now a new Nordstrom Rack and Saks Off 5th, a new Canadian Tire, and even a large Ikea. The Southgate Centre has some of the highest sales per square foot in all of Canada, and over $130 million was just recently invested in Londonderry Mall.


The City of Edmonton Blossoming

There are major construction plans in various locations in Edmonton, thanks to the Valley Line transit. The Bonnie Doon Shopping Centre is set to be transformed into a huge mix-use district with plenty of public spaces, new senior housing locations, more retail space, and more residential units, which will draw in better foot traffic.

A new shopping centre is also being planned at Millwoods Town Centre with thousands of new housing units and retail and restaurant spaces.


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Reopening Commercial Real Estate Construction Sites in Ontario

The Ontario local Government has confirmed their previous statement that they expect the reopening of construction sites across the state. The coronavirus pandemic has closed all large retail stores, malls, and various other activities, including construction sites.

Some of the construction sites were opened during April, but not all of them. However, this new announcement opened all construction projects in May, including commercial buildings.


Which Construction Sites are Being Reopened 

The announcement includes the continuation of work on construction projects involving, residential development, commercial development, excavation, site preparation, education, digital infrastructure, telecommunication work, logistics & shipping infrastructure, and so on.

This is excellent news, as all CRE projects in Canada were sitting in place for quite some time now. Although no one knows if stage one of phase 2 will end in a three-week period or four weeks, this is still positive business news. It shows that things are moving in a more positive direction and that we can expect the CRE construction to ramp back up again.


Ontario Phase I reopening

This phase of reopening does not involve several businesses. Businesses like retail, outdoor and indoor household services, golf courses, sporting clubs, and libraries have been allowed to conduct business since May 19th; however, restaurants, barbershops, hair and nail salons are not included in this phase of reopening in the province of Ontario.

Each sector has different restrictions regarding reopening in order to remain vigilant in the event of another flair up of coronavirus cases.


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Saskatchewan Introduces New Measures for Reopening Businesses

It will be a while before all businesses can return to operating at full capacity in Saskatchewan. However, many of the imposed coronavirus measures are set to be loosened over the coming weeks in an attempt to restore the economy, which means some businesses should get ready to reopen.

This comes as a great relief to many Canadian retailers, restaurant owners, and CRE investors, as things are looking up.

Since the reopening of Saskatchewan will occur in phases, and many preventative guidelines will still need to be followed, businesses will have to come up with strategies that will help them recover expenses and turn profits.


Retailers First to Open 

Many clothing retailers have adapted to the coronavirus lockdown by offering online orders and deliveries and curbside pick-ups. This trend is expected to continue even after May 19 when they’re scheduled to open their doors once again.

This is primarily because clothing retailers will have to change the way they operate when they reopen.


Bars and Restaurants to Follow Soon After 

Although the exact date hasn’t been determined as of yet, in the weeks after clothing retailers have reopened, restaurants and bars will be allowed to do the same.

The hospitality industry was among those that have been hit the hardest by the coronavirus. So it’s not surprising that bar and restaurant owners are excited to follow any imposed measure as long as they are given a chance to reopen.

And many measures will need to be followed.


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Media, News

Malls Adapting to the Newest Changing Trends in Saskatchewan

Photo Credit: Pixabay

The past few years have been quite challenging for some Saskatchewan malls and shopping centers. The rise of E-commerce retailers and online shopping, in general, has evidently caused a decrease in foot traffic and a relatively significant drop in profits.

Luckily, there’s a silver lining. Many of Saskatchewan’s most prominent malls are adapting to the changing trends and are quickly becoming consumer hotpots once again. If you have an interest in Canadian retail and commercial real estate, this might just be the right time for investing.


New Types of Stores Opening up Across Canada’s Malls 

As one door closes, another one opens. And while some of the biggest tenants are leaving Saskatchewan malls, Regina’s Cornwall is set to become the home for many renowned brands. Urban Planet, Ardene, and Eclipse are just some of the newcomers in this downtown mall.

When it comes to shoe and apparel stores they might be the minority in the malls of the future; however, expect to see an increase in the number of medical offices across Canada’s malls.

Dentists, optometrists, private general practitioners, and more are expected to set up shop in malls in Saskatchewan, Alberta, Ontario, and other provinces. Even more so as events like global pandemics and the normal flu season and other diseases continue to occur.


Experience-Based Malls Are Here to Stay 

Besides medical offices, Canada’s malls will boast a few more types of businesses. The malls that thrive and survive are those that don’t just offer shopping, but those that offer experiences.


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