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shopping in calgary

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.

 

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…)

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…)