Tag Archives: Sport Chek

Olympic Spirit: In Stores Now

The Olympic Games tend to permeate all aspects of society each time they occur, dominating workplace conversations, media coverage and television airtime for two weeks straight.

This time around, the games also gained a prominent presence in stores and malls, as the retail industry showed its support for the games, and Canada’s athletes in particular.

Whereas we’ve long seen retailers such as Roots and Hudson’s Bay Company embrace the games by providing Team Canada merchandise – including those red mittens that became ubiquitous during the 2010 Vancouver Games – a variety of other retailers got in on the action this year.

Companies such as Sport Chek and Canadian Tire, for example, launched aggressive marketing campaigns demonstrating their support for Team Canada, with floor-to-ceiling advertisements at certain TTC subway stations.

Shopping centres also seemed to get into the Olympic spirit more than ever before. The Toronto Eaton Centre, for example, set up a viewing lounge where people could take a break from shopping to catch up on the latest Olympic action.

Olympic Viewing Lounge at the Toronto Eaton Centre

Olympic Viewing Lounge at the Toronto Eaton Centre

On Family Day, the Eaton Centre showcased the viewing lounge during a special event featuring Jason Burnett, an Olympic silver medalist in trampoline, who took photos with fans and signed autographs. Burnett also made an appearance at Fairview Mall during the long weekend, which had a similar viewing lounge set up for shoppers to enjoy.

It’s a smart strategy from a business perspective, enticing consumers to stick around at the mall longer than they might otherwise in order to see Olympic events they don’t want to miss. The more time shoppers spend at the mall, the more likely they are to make more purchases – even if it’s just a latte to sip on while watching some figure skating or bobsledding.

Support for Team Canada on display at the Toronto Eaton Centre

Support for Team Canada on display at the Toronto Eaton Centre

The Winter Olympics clearly resonate with Canadians, providing an exciting event to rally around during the cold and dark winter months. The games also elicit a strong sense of pride among Canadians, so it’s understandable that retailers would want to find a way of associating themselves with this event.

Although retailers have their business reasons for getting involved, it’s nice to see the industry showing its support. I’m sure the athletes appreciate all the support they can get, and from a fan’s perspective, it’s one more element contributing to the exciting spirit of the games.


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Filed under Events, Shopping Hubs

The North Face comes north of the border

Outdoor apparel and equipment company The North Face will be opening its first store in Canada on Bloor Street this fall.

Catering to those with active lifestyles, the company manufactures gear specially designed for such activities as yoga, biking, skiing, snowboarding and hiking. This includes apparel, outerwear, tents, sleeping bags, backpacks and other equipment.

The North Face was founded in San Francisco 40 years ago, and now operates dozens of retail stores in the United States and abroad.

In Canada, the company’s products are sold through such retailers as Sporting Life, North by Northwest and Sport Chek.

The new store, located on Bloor Street near Avenue Road, will be the company’s first direct-to-customer owned store in Canada.

I wouldn’t have considered Bloor-Yorkville the most obvious location for the store, given the upscale, high-fashion nature of the shopping district in that part of the city.

However, the high-traffic location will certainly give the North Face plenty of visibility among the affluent shoppers frequenting the area – and perhaps that’s the company’s goal as it begins boosting its profile in the Canadian market.

Keep an eye out for the large new store in the next couple of months — hopefully just in time for ski and snowboard season.


Filed under Boutiques, Shopping Hubs

A workout without the work: Too good to be true?

No time for the gym? No sweat. Just throw on Reebok’s new line of EasyTone apparel, and you’ll exercise your muscles without actually having to exercise. Or so the company says.

The new line of clothing for women and footwear for both men and women, which is now available at Sport Chek stores in Canada, is designed to help tone your muscles when you move – whether you’re on a treadmill or just out for a walk.

Reebok EasyTone Long Bra Top

In the apparel, bands within the fabric create resistance every time you move, helping to strengthen your muscles and encourage better posture and body alignment, according to Reebok.

The shoes, meanwhile, have “balance pods” built onto the bottoms that are designed to create instability with each step. This forces your leg muscles and glutes to work harder when you walk, encouraging toning, the company says.

I have to say, I’m pretty skeptical about this concept. I can see how these shoes might make a small difference in working your leg muscles to a slightly greater degree than normal. But fabric that creates resistance when you move? Unless there are weights sewn into the fabric, I’m not convinced that this apparel will have any impact on your muscles.

While I do love the idea of toning my muscles on days that I can’t make it to the gym, I have a hard time believing that you can get real results without the work. It’s called a workout for a reason, after all.

But hey, I could be wrong. If you’ve seen results from a product like this, I’d love to hear about it!

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Filed under Clothing Lines