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Calgary shopping

Retail Spotlight: Calgary Jewellery

By SHAUNA MCGINN

A Calgary-owned business spanning three generations, Calgary Jewellery has been a staple in the city’s retail scene since 1955. Started by Les and Dora Florence, today the store is run by their son Bernard Florence and their grandson Jonathan, along with a team of dedicated staff. Jonathan spoke to Where Calgary about how the family business has continued to thrive.

Photo courtesy Jonathan Florence.

Calgary Jewellery is going on 64 years in business. What has kept it relevant all these years?
It’s truly because of the customer service we provide. We pride ourselves on the things that are unique, exclusive, but also, when it comes to anyone’s budget, we focus on providing the exact same experience whether you’re looking to spend $100 or $100,000. Also, the members of our staff have been with us anywhere from 10 years all the way up to 30 years. So when clients come in, they see a familiar face and they can feel comfortable with someone they know.

What was your grandfather’s initial business philosophy, and what does that look like for the store today?
It was integrity, it was customer relationships, and it was providing the same experience for everyone. One of the most important things now is having a unique selection of product. People want something that’s unique to them, and if they have their own taste and style, we’re able to cater to that.

What would you tell someone who is looking for a really special piece — like an engagement ring, for example — but has no idea where to start?
The most important thing is that if they were going to come into the store with zero knowledge, it’s our job to educate our clients. Using an engagement ring as an example, we would sit the client down and make them feel comfortable — for us the sale isn’t the end goal, it’s the relationship we’re building. We would go over a little bit about Diamonds 101, and we would ask questions like: ‘What makes you happy?’ or, ‘What makes you smile?’ At the end of the day, jewellery is an emotional purchase. If a client has no idea about jewellery, the most important thing is that the jeweller asks the right questions and learns about the client first.

How have you seen the retail market in Calgary change over the years?
Social media has become a wonderful tool, and we look at it as an opportunity to connect with clients that we may not have had before. We are one of the first truly independent jewellers that started in Calgary, and we have such a great history… Calgary Jewellery — it’s an easy name to know and to find.

3 new Calgary stores you should visit

By SHAUNA MCGINN 

GARDENIA FLOWER BOUTIQUE
What better way to shake off the January blues than to ogle gorgeous flower arrangements? Step into the doors of the 108-year-old restored home that has been turned into Gardenia Flower Boutique, and you’ll be instantly put at ease by the artfully designed space bursting with exotic plant life. Opened last fall in Marda Loop, a visit to this flower shop on a cold winter day can be easily incorporated into a leisurely afternoon in this trendy neighbourhood. Gardenia offers hand-tied bouquets, fresh cut flowers, and some home goods like candles and vases.

Photo courtesy Gardenia.

AVENIDA FOOD HALL & FRESH MARKET
On November 29, Avenida Village shopping centre unveiled a brand-new dining section — but it’s not a typical mall food court. Avenida Food Hall & Fresh Market takes inspiration from the longstanding tradition of European open-air food halls, where dozens of vendors come together in one spot to purvey local goods ranging from bread and produce to seafood and candy. Travis Callaway, president of Avenida, says, “A food hall has never been done before in our city and we feel like the trending foodie culture and slow food movement… as well as the open social environment will be widely enjoyed and appreciated.” In addition to restaurant and local vendor sections, there will also be a stall where “micro-artisans” and makers are able to rent wall space to sell their products.

SAKS OFF FIFTH
After a holiday spending spree, doling out serious cash for designer clothing is probably the furthest thing from your mind. Enter Saks Off Fifth, the outlet sister store to Saks Fifth Avenue, where you can find high-end brands for up to 70 per cent off. Launched this past September at Market Mall, this is the second Saks Off Fifth store in Calgary, the first being the CrossIron Mills location that opened back in 2016. At both locations, you can hunt for marked down clothes, shoes and accessories from brands like Calvin Klein, Givenchy and Free People. If you’re experiencing shopping burnout, remember that sometimes the best deals are found after the boxing week rush when stores are eager to move leftover product and entice customers with sales to offset the January retail slump.

 

Where to buy hemp products in Calgary

By Silvia Pikal

Hemp is a versatile crop that can be cultivated for fibre used in clothing, rope and paper products or cultivated for seed. It’s a super plant that has been widely maligned thanks to the fact that it’s one of two strains of the cannabis sativa plant — the other being marijuana. Hemp has very low levels of the mind-altering chemical THC, which has made marijuana famous. We’re showing some love to this misunderstood plant by highlighting hemp clothing and bath and body products you can find in Calgary.

Courtesy Rocky Mountain Soap Company

Refresh with hemp-based soap
Use Rocky Mountain Soap Company’s patchouli and mint soap on your face, hands or body to nourish dry skin. The soap contains a blend of essential oils, including peppermint leaf, patchouli leaf and hempseed. Free of artificial colour, synthetic fragrances and preservatives, it also contains green clay to help remove dead skin cells.

Courtesy The Apothecary in Inglewood.

Personal care that’s good for the Earth
Tired of buying pads every month? Pick up a reusable menstrual pad at The Apothecary in Inglewood. The pads are lined with a fabric made of organic hemp, which is soft and absorbent.

No period? No problem! They also sell hemp seed oil, which they recommended for hair care along with jojoba to restore damaged and dry hair, or massaged into the nail bed for stronger nails.

 

Courtesy Seed.

Add some hemp to your wardrobe
Seed clothing is designed and manufactured in Calgary and made with all-natural fabrics, including hemp and cotton. Seed clothing is sold primarily on their website, or at pop-up shops around the city.

Courtesy Ketchum Public Relations.

A healthy snack
Pick up hemp foods at Community Natural Foods. Try the Manitoba Harvest Hemp Hearts, which we love sprinkling on cereal, yogurt and salads for some crunch.

How To Shop Calgary’s Outlets

By LEAH VAN LOON

Photo courtesy Nordstrom Rack.

Is this really a great deal? Did that come from the mainline store? These tips will help you balance bargains versus style at discount department stores:

Everyone loves getting a good deal so it’s surprise that Calgary has seen some new department store outlets open in the last few years, most notably Nordstrom Rack and Saks Off Fifth. Add to it the name recognition of large department stores selling big name designers and the expectations grow even higher. So what should you expect from shopping at a department store outlet?

While the main department stores have a very set program of sale periods and discount promotions, the outlets have new merchandise coming in all the time. They also have their own sale schedule and clearances for even deeper discounts. At first glance the price may seem right, but it pays to remember that designer items sent to the outlet from the main store are not in season, which is one reason you are getting a deal.

Other reasons why you could find a previously regular-priced item at an outlet might be overstock, fit or quality issues, a strange colour, style or print, it was overlooked in a stockroom, or it was altered for a customer and the store ended up with it. Surprisingly, only around 20 percent of items at an outlet are actually goods that were for sale at a mainline store at full price and are now marked down. Many pieces are even made directly by designer brands for the department store outlets using less expensive materials and inferior construction to provide that brand name for less — so if you are seeing a price for you to compare it to, it may not be a sale price versus a regular price so much as a reminder of what the brand’s clothing usually sells for at the main store.

Fear not, you can still find bargains at the outlets, but the best way to get a real deal (and a deal on something real) is to also shop the regular store. Occasionally the clearance opportunities and promotions at the main store will show an even better deal on an item than when you see it at the outlet, so it pays to check in, especially at sale time. If you are familiar with the brands you can learn to recognize a bargain when you see it and even how to spot a made-directly- for-the-outlet item. You can also shop the outlets online and find items not available at your own local brick-and-mortar —just make sure you can still get a refund.

Happy shopping, and remember: it’s only a good deal if it’s something you’ll actually wear!

 

 

Built to Last: Behind the scenes at Alberta Boot Company

Decorative stitching is sewn on to the upper part of a boot. (Photo: Jason Dziver)

On Alberta Boot Company’s 40th anniversary, we take a sneak peek at how the boots — and the legacy — are made

By RACHAEL FREY

If Ben Gerwing isn’t up front in the Alberta Boot Company store greeting customers and fitting them for the perfect pair of boots, you might find him in the factory at the back of the building cutting leather, or applying stain to soles, or any of the 200 steps that go into custom hand-crafting a pair of boots. (more…)

Inside the new Saks Calgary store

By SILVIA PIKAL

Ice sculpture at the official opening of the new Saks Calgary store/Photo by Silvia Pikal.

On February 22, Saks Fifth Avenue officially opened in Calgary. (more…)

Q+A: Getting personal with stylist Megan Szanik

By MICHAELA RITCHIE

When Megan Szanik first settled in Calgary and opened her fashion boutique, Espy Experience, she never dreamed one late-night shopping spree would give her retail style a revolutionary makeover.

“I had a customer bring her friend into the store at night,” Szanik says. “She said to me, ‘Megan, she won’t come in during the day. She hates herself, she’s gained all this weight. She doesn’t know how to dress her new body.’ So we brought her in at nine o’clock at night and I dressed her for two hours. We went through that bottle of wine, and I showed her.” (more…)

Weekend Market Round Up: December 14-17

By HOT ART YYC

Adult’s Only Night at TELUS Spark, Calgary’s Science Centre. (Photo courtesy of TELUS Spark.)

This weekend’s art gallery, museum and market round up offers the last instalment of 2017’s Adult’s Only Night series at the TELUS Spark, a downtown art gallery that involves your smartphone in the magic, and—as you might expect 12 days before Christmas—an unprecedented number of holiday craft markets for those gift shopping procrastinators among you. Happy exploring! (more…)

10 Must-Visit Places in Kensington

By MICHAELA RITCHIE

Calgary’s vibrant Kensington neighbourhood is known for its eclectic shopping, artisanal dining scene, and prolific street festivals. (Photo by Jason Dziver.)

Kensington maintains a charming, bohemian vibe while also hosting some of Calgary’s best restaurants and boutiques. The pedestrian-friendly neighbourhood is easily reached from downtown by foot or the CTrain’s Sunnyside station while bustling street festivals occur at all times of the year. (more…)

Shop ’til You Drop: Calgary’s Top Retail Neighbourhoods

By MICHAELA RITCHIE

Light up your day with a visit to the vibrant and artsy Kensington neighbourhood. (Photo by Jason Dziver)

Calgary is home to a cornucopia of centrally located shopping, but to the unfamiliar eye, this variety can look more imposing than inviting. Each of the following Calgary neighbourhoods have a unique personality—which one is right for your one-stop shopping needs? (more…)

Escape to Calgary and Grey Eagle Resort & Casino

Aug. 5, 2016
By Naomi Witherick

Fancy a taste of the city during your mountain vacation? Calgary is a dynamic and friendly urban oasis at the foot of the Canadian Rockies.

Canadian Rockies, Calgary, places to stay

Why Calgary?

Just an hour and a half from Banff, Calgary is right on your doorstep if you’re staying in the national park. If you’re flying through Calgary International Airport, the city a great place to explore before or after your time in the mountains.

From historic sites to urban glitz, the city is pocketed with eclectic districts. Sample the unique shops, funky bistros and buzzing nightlife in Kensington Village, Stephen Ave Downtown Pedestrian Mall, Inglewood and 17th Avenue SW. With endless bike and walking paths (many along the Bow and Elbow Rivers), it’s very safe and child-friendly. (more…)

50 Perfect Presents In Our One-Stop Christmas Gift Guide

By ADELE BRUNNHOFER

Something for everyone at a one-stop location! Photo: Jason Dziver

Something for everyone at a one-stop location! Photo: Jason Dziver

While Christmas shopping is a passion for some, it’s a chore for others. We’ll bet you’re into getting it done easily and quickly, whichever type of gift-giver you are. With expedience and your pre-Xmas peace of mind in mind, Where Calgary visited Chinook Centre, a short drive south of the city’s downtown, carefully selecting suitably sweet somethings for everyone on your list.

Chinook Centre, 6455 Macleod Trail SW, 403-259-2022, www.chinookcentre.com Maps and Reviews