MEC unveils new urban boutique in Montreal

A downtown spin on an outdoorsy brand

An downtown spin on an outdoorsy brand

Mountain Equipment Co-op (MEC), a Canadian retailer for outdoors enthusiasts, is introducing a new boutique concept store in Montreal to cater to those consumers whose outdoor activities happen closer to their downtown homes.

MEC’s boutique, which officially opens its doors Sept. 22, is the result of the retail chain’s new business direction, the expansion of its product line and an acknowledgement of how its customers chose to be active.

François-Xavier Delemotte, MEC’s marketing manager for Quebec, told Marketing that seven out of every 10 of its members (the co-op sells lifetime individual memberships for $5) participate in activities close to home. They also tend to live in urban areas.

“Earlier this spring we changed our strategic direction, because now we want to be the preferred retailer for active people. More than that, we wanted to push the concept downtown where people are living and practicing their activities such as running, yoga and cycling,” said Delemotte.

He said members were also looking for more fashion-focused clothing – more styles, colours and brands that can be worn before, during and after activities, “whether it’s to be active or chill around.”

To appeal to members’ fashion needs and give the MEC boutique an urban feel, ready-to-wear garments will be showcased at the front of the store as opposed to technical gear such as skis and backpacks, which is typical in the retailer’s traditional shops. Signage will also change from green to a more modern grey.

The boutique is 5,000 square-feet – a quarter the size of a traditional MEC store – and was designed by Montreal agency Aedifica. It is located in the city’s Le Plateau-Mont-Royal neighbourhood because residents in this area closely mirror MEC members, said Delemotte.

The MEC boutique also offers a new delivery service that allows customers to use in-house iPads to place orders with other stores in the Montreal area and have them delivered within the hour.

MEC is using social media, in-store promotions, a contest and online ads, predominately in French, to promote the boutique.

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