World renowned jeweller Tiffany & Co. marked the 10th anniversary of its Vancouver flagship store by tripling its size.
After months of being enclosed by construction hoarding, the expanded store at the northwest corner of Burrard and Alberni streets had its grand reopening late last week.
The store has added a second level, expanding into the space formerly occupied by Japanese restaurant Kamei Royale.
With the added and redesigned space, the Vancouver flagship is now among Tiffany’s largest locations. The old store had a retail floor area of 3,300 ft² but the new store’s retail floor area is more than triple that at 10,000 ft².
“We always wanted to have more space as we’ve been blessed with customers coming to our stores,” Wendy Eagan, Group Vice-President of Tiffany & Co. Canada, told Daily Hive.
“We wanted to build something to honour the support of our customers and build something our customers can stay and linger and enjoy a very unique experience. This is a very important market to us.”
Eagan says the redesigned Vancouver store aligns with the look and experience offered by its famous Fifth Avenue location in New York City.
Overlooking the intersection, above the entrance, is Vancouver’s very own Atlas clock – a statue of the Greek mythological figure shouldering an oversized clock.
“Mr. Tiffany at the time in the mid-1800s was the first to put a clock on the outside of a retail environment,” Eagan said. “He acknowledged the busy lives of New Yorkers and that they needed a reference of time, and as the legend goes most New Yorkers at the time set their time to the Tiffany clocks.”
“So that element is one of the things we’re most proud of because this is the most important corner in Vancouver, the iconic corner of Burrard and Alberni.”
Beyond the doors, a double-height ceiling entrance foyer with hand-forged Tiffany Magnolia chandeliers provides a dramatic new first impression upon entering the store.
Some iconic Tiffany design elements include the extensive use of marble, black lacquer and white gold, and a magnolia theme that harkens back to the magnolia stain glass designed by Louis Comfort Tiffany.
The display area in the atrium, nearest the front doors, is where the most important jewellery collection will be exhibited, and currently this is being used by the Bluebook Collection.
There are salons for fashion jewellery, luxury accessories, luxury gifts, and even an area just for engagements. Private areas have also been etched into the store as closed-off spaces where people can be consulted with experts.
While jewellery stores are often known to be small, tight, and sealed off from exterior view, this store is an exception. Large floor to ceiling windows on the second level allow customers to peer out into the busy city below.
“What we’ve learned particularly in Vancouver is that many of our customers like to come in groups,” said Eagan. “They like to take their time trying on the pieces and learning about the collections.”
“We also have families that come in and our old store was not conducive to allow you to sit and take in the beauty. We hope we can slow down our busy lives and take the opportunity to enjoy the beauty that we bring to life here.”
When Tiffany opened its Vancouver store in 2006, it was a catalyst for the creation of a new retail district in downtown Vancouver. The store’s opening caught the attention of other luxury retailers who moved followed the jeweller’s lead, turning the two-block stretch of Alberni Street between Burrard and Bute into Vancouver’s very own luxury zone.
“Over the past four years I’ve overseen the Canadian division, the change in luxury in Vancouver has been momentous,” said Eagan. “I believe that we’ve been here the longest at 10 years, and we’ve established the gateway to luxury.”
“I believe that Canada as a whole, particularly in the west, has been underserved in the luxury marketplace,” she continued.
Tiffany opened its first Canadian location on Bloor Street in downtown Toronto 20 years ago, and its second location was its Vancouver Alberni store a decade later.
Since then, its presence in Canada has grown to 13 stores, including locations at Oakridge Centre and Holt Renfrew in downtown Vancouver.