Fashion Events

Arc’teryx Unveils First Alpha Store, Redefining Care and Repair of High-performance Apparel

TORONTO Die-hard Arc’teryx customers are about to get another reason to shop the high-tech outerwear brand.

The Canadian company based in North Vancouver was founded in 1989 by climbers who wanted the best gear possible so they could get outside and enjoy the beautiful local mountains and green valleys.

Now the high-end brand — whose durable, minimalist, problem-solving products are distributed through more than 2,400 retail locations worldwide, including more than 130 branded store — is unveiling its new Alpha Store format in Toronto, which will be followed by its U.S. debut later this summer at 580 Broadway in Manhattan.

“Arc’teryx is looking to challenge the retail status quo and reach more people in an elevated way,” said Megan Cheesbrough, the company’s vice president of North American retail.

To start with, the 10,000-square-foot size of the Alpha Store that will open on Toronto’s Bloor Street West is unlike anything the brand has delivered before.

“Most of our stores are 3,400 to 3,500 square feet in size. But this larger inaugural store format will house new elements that will be important to Alpha Store centers across North America,” said Cheesbrough.

Aside from featuring the broadest selection of product, at the heart of the concept is Arc’teryx’s expansion of its ReBird Service Centers, which will offer product care as well as repair, resale and upcycling to North American shoppers with a quicker turnaround. This, according to Arc’teryx, represents a major step toward reducing the climate impact of its products by keeping them in play and out of landfills — a move that is key toward achieving its net zero emissions by 2050 goal.

Arc'teryx's new Alpha Stores

Arc’teryx’s new Alpha Stores.

Courtesy of Arc’teryx

With full-time ReCare technicians on staff, these expanded ReBird Service Centers, which are three times larger than the usual size, offer a 65 percent increase in repair capacity onsite.

Alpha Stores shoppers can expect to see turnaround times of just five days, down from 14, and a 95 percent resolution rate for all product care needs right in-store, not in the factory. That includes advanced repair capabilities such as sewing and lamination repair, main zipper replacements, repanels, hemming and more.

“Our goal is to do as many repairs as possible [in the store]. We’ve even contemplated the possibility of one-hour repairs in the future. But the idea is to get our clients back outdoors as soon as possible to enjoy their lives,” said Delaney Schweitzer, the chief commercial officer at Arc’teryx.

As part of its ReBird Service Centers, shoppers can bring in their used product and receive a gift card offering a good percentage of the item’s original value, which can be used for other purchases from the brand.

These returned items are then repaired, cleaned and made ready for resale at a lower price, giving customers — particularly younger ones — the opportunity to ReGear and buy vintage pieces that may otherwise have eluded them.

Arc'teryx's new Alpha Stores

Arc’teryx’s new Alpha Stores.

Courtesy of Arc’teryx

“We are led by our guests, not by the status quo,” Schweitzer told WWD, revealing that Toronto’s Alpha Store will showcase Arc’teryx’s full Veilance Line of apparel for men and women.

New York City’s Alpha Store will also have a full ReBird Service Center and be the first area to see the full expression of its ReGear services.

The New York City location will include a coffee shop, a move that adds to Arc’teryx’s description of its Alpha Stores as community hubs.

“This is a community store, not just a retail store,” said Schweitzer, explaining that the nearby presence of gyms, hiking trails, mountains and other factors are always considered for prospective sites. As well, looking for grassroot partnerships that can help create change in the great outdoors always remains a constant.

“Our Alpha Stores are designed to host movies and other events about climbing, running and outdoor safety. That creates a community connection and invites more people into this space,” said Schweitzer.

Alpha Store community zones will feature distinctive touches such as wood benches made of hemlock trees, sustainably foraged from British Columbia’s Sunshine Coast.

Dates for other North American openings have yet to be revealed. But as Schweitzer said, “Our guests and a sense of community are the center of this entire retail strategy. That’s what makes this continuing evolution of Arc’teryx’s retail expression so unique in today’s market.”

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