RW&Co. puts their best foot forward at their new Yorkdale store
In the midst of retail’s most tumultuous period yet - especially for the North American Mall - Yorkdale Shopping Centre is, surprisingly, killing it. Last year, the mall added an wing that included American department store Nordstrom and the flagship of winter-favourite Canada Goose, and in Summer 2017, the mall welcomed the second Canadian outpost of Drake’s October’s Very Own retail store.
All the above makes Yorkdale the perfect playground for businesses like RW&CO. to experiment in. In July, The Canadian retailer opened its first Yorkdale flagship with a renewed store concept, headed in the a different direction from its past stores.
“Retail is by-the-minute. The transformation that is going on in retail right now is seismic,” said Lora Tisi, president of RW&CO., at the store’s launch event. “We’re always looking to innovate and that is prevalent in walking this store.”
The store features a more luxurious outlook with bar-style checkout counters, a totally new layout and upgraded fitting rooms.
The company’s new vision is driven by team work from all levels of the company. “This store is an example of what people bring to the party. As tough and challenging as it is building a new store, as demanding as some leaders are, we get a better result at the end,” said Walter Lamothe, chief operating officer of RW&CO.’s parent company, Reitmans Canada Ltd.
The company strongly applies a culture of people first. There is a freedom to innovate, and bring individuality to the table, rather than fit a corporate mould. There is also a flexibility to be thoughtful in contributing to the company’s culture and strategy.
“I believe in hiring the best and making sure they are a lot smarter than you are, and then having that culture of innovation and performance drive,” said Tisi. “Its about the what ifs, not the what is.”
Making the company future-proof is also a core concept at the company. Turmoil in business in not a new concept, said Lamothe. Disruption was commonplace throughout the Eighties and Nineties, the only difference now is speed.
“People who know what’s going on today have to have a vision of what’s possible tomorrow,” said Lamothe. “If you can project what will be, set people into that context rather than worry about what’s going to happen next week. Next week is done six months ago, It almost doesn’t matter what it is.”