"This is our newest and largest Arc'teryx store with new concepts. Tonight is not only about celebrating the opening of the store, it's also about celebrating everyone behind it. It's a collective effort of all these amazing human beings who work here in North Vancouver. Our product and design folks, with over fifty years of collective design experience and our experienced retail team, we're growing everyday" - Jon Hoerauf, GM/President of Arc'teryx.
On Thursday evening I was hosted at the new Arc'teryx store on Downtown Vancouver's Burrard Street where I attended an intimate press event, had the opportunity to chat with the senior design and marketing teams, and a quiet time to see, feel, and study the Arc'teryx collection.
Sipping on Green Aloe Juice from The Juice Truck and indulging in delicious fried chicken burgers and chai donuts from Railtown Cafe while I browsed the current collection in the 3,200ft² space. The new store will carry Arc'teryx's full line of outdoor product including backpacks, footwear and climbing equipment; as well as it's full hiking, running and mountain apparel lines.
Perfectly located, this new store will join the portfolio of existing stores located in Kitsilano and North Vancouver. A new addition to the store is the community space which was described to me as a "relaxed area of the store where we invite our customers to hang out, read some books, recharge their devices using our power outlets, and discuss any repairs or warranty issues with staff at the warranty-and-repair-bar." In the community area there's also an interactive map and an upcoming events calendar. This section of the store invites consumers in and allows them to engage with the Arc'teryx brand for education and inspiration.
A special set up in the store for the evening was a manufacturing station where we had the chance to see the creation of exclusive Arc'teryx card holders. Arc'teryx are world renowned in the outdoors industry for their fine craftsmanship skills and attention to details so it was quite interesting to watch and learn about the process from design to manufacturing, to the shop floor, and eventually up into the mountains.
Since moving to Vancouver, I've found myself becoming more and more of an outdoors person. I consider myself a city boy with an incredible passion inside of me, a passion to take risks, to do the impossible, explore, and have some amazing adventures in my life. I'm the Elizabeth Gilbert in Eat Pray Love and the Cheryl Strayed in Wild. I've done the Eat Pray Love thing. I've experienced India and Europe and now I'm ready for the wild outdoors and aspire to one day follow in Cheryl's footsteps and make my way along the Pacific Crest Trail, documenting my journey. Being surrounded by Ambassadors at the Arc'teryx event reminded me of this dream that constantly lingers in the back of my mind along with my other hopes and aspirations. I'm truly determined and devoted to making it happen, and I know someday it will.
Having not held a huge knowledge of the Arc'teryx brand before attending the event, I was really excited to get up close and personal with the product, feeling it and trying on pieces from the current collection. In the Arc'teryx Essentials & Traverse section of the store, I found myself chatting with Tanya Hall, an apparel design manager who has been with the brand for a remarkable seventeen years. Tanya explained her love of rock-climbing which eventually led to her landing a position at Arc'teryx. She's seen the brand grow over the years and listening to her passion and her knowledge of the brand was incredible. She also told me about the bring your dog to work policy, which is beyond amazing... Enough said!
Another collection I came by in the store, much more suited to my current lifestyle and incredibly well designed is the Veilance collection. Veilance has more of an elevated, contemporary, fashionable and street-wear feel and approach to it, although it's still as durable and technical as the other in-line items that Arc'teryx offers. The current Veilance collection combines minimalist style with total performance. The product is classic, timeless, and is tailored to the city. I'll be covering some of the more technical features and designs of the Veilance collection and also discussing the Arc'teryx's LEAF collection in a future post, but for now, here are some of my favourites from the store.
Being surrounded by the exceptional collections, the knowledgeable staff, and most importantly, the inspirational ambassadors, on Thursday evening, was really quite amazing. My typical reader outside of North America and outside of the outdoors industry may not have a knowledge of the Arc'teryx brand, which was founded by Dave Lane back in 1989 as Rock Solid, and later renamed Arc'teryx by then Principle Jeremy Guard. The company's first line of products was climbing gear, and it has taken them years to expand their product offering into apparel, footwear, and backpacks. Arc'teryx now has more than 800 employees, 16 fully owned and operated stores in North America, 33 brand stores globally, and more than 3000 distributors around the world.
While at the event, we also had the chance to enter a raffle for the chance to win an awesome beer growler - perfect for taking up into the mountains or maybe just for a party at home if you're not that wild. Funds raised from the raffle have been donated to the North Shore Search & Rescue. All of the Arc'teryx stores in Vancouver have been raising funds for the NSAR and have raised more than $27,000.
The importance of the North Shore Search & Rescue organization is really significant in British Columbia. The NSAR team consists of approximately 40 skilled volunteers who perform about 130 search & rescue missions annually. Arc'teryx commented that "We value the services the North Shore Search and Rescue offers the community and they know they can come to us with any needs they have and we'll do what we can to help. In turn we go to them and other SARS and outdoor professionals when we need product tested and they've always been extremely accommodating to our requests." Seems like the perfect partnership.
I'd like to thank Arc'teryx for accommodating Gas & Gander for the event and for sharing the knowledge of this incredible brand with me. Looking forward to working on more product focused articles with Arc'teryx, and maybe even educating myself more on training for the PCT.
If you get a chance, stop by the store or check out the full collection at www.arcteryx.com, where Arc'teryx delivers to the majority of countries globally.
All images courtesy of Arc'teryx