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Picking Poppy Barley's Vancouver Store Location: A Guide to Finding the Perfect Retail Space

5-minute read

Poppy Barley is opening its first store in Vancouver! Join the waitlist to stay updated on our progress. Picking the perfect location for our YVR store was no small feat! Read on to learn about the process.

Hi! I am Justine, Poppy Barley's co-founder and co-CEO alongside my sister Kendall. One of the more exciting things I did in the past year was help select the location for PB's first Vancouver Store.

As a company, we’ve had a relationship with Vancouver for 10 years. We visit 3 to 4x per year to host pop-ups (and run the seawall) and ship an ever-growing amount of ecommerce orders into the V5K. With so much growth in Vancouver, the time had come to add physical retail to Vancouver. The search for the perfect location was long and sometimes frustrating.

Working with a Commercial Real Estate Agent in Vancouver

We started by enlisting a commercial real estate agent familiar with the local market - Blake from Colliers. He was our source of local information and connections. To start our search, Blake needed to know our ideal store size (1600 to 2000 sq ft), the approximate timing to open, and the areas we were interested in. He showed us multiple spaces and ultimately helped us negotiate a deal.

Kendall and I are pretty familiar with Vancouver, despite having never lived here. We both went to high school in Prince George and Kendall went to university in Victoria. Plus, we have many friends and most of our dad’s side living in the area. So we honed in pretty quickly on the two shopping areas we wanted to consider - West 4th/Kitsilano and Mount Royal in North Vancouver.

Factors We Considered in our Location Search

Key things that made us interested in those two areas were:

  • Strong co-tenancies (aka other brands we’d be neighbours with that draw a similar customer) and an overall great shopping experience.
  • The geography of our current customers, which we mapped out, aligns with those areas. We also have many customers outside those areas as you’d expect in a large city.
  • Talking to locals friends and business friends for their input. There was a lot of talk about which bridges in Vancouver people are willing to cross!
  • The economics - basically comparing the average rents to what we could glean of the area’s productivity (total sales or sales per sq. foot.)

  • Generally, enclosed malls have one landlord that tenants report sales to. So they are able to share detailed information on revenue. Street front locations generally have many small landlords making it much harder to find information on productivity.

    We visited both and spent a lot of time walking around those two areas, gathering the information you can’t find online, like how busy the street was, how people walked the street, and the feeling of each.

    In the end, we decided that, while Mount Royal is beautiful, West 4th would make more sense for a 1st store - it is more central for more people and is increasingly becoming a destination for new brand discovery.

    Photo by Matt Taylor

    Photo by Alyssa Dawson

    Touring Potential Locations

    We again toured West 4th and saw all available spaces but nothing was right: they were either too narrow with no frontage, too far off the main shopping zone or too large for us.

    So we waited. And waited. And waited a bit more.

    At one point, we offered on a different space but it fell through in negotiations.

    More waiting.

    It’s Official: West 4th, Here We Come

    Finally, Blake brought to our attention a space that was softly available - not yet listed but coming to the market and we moved fast to scoop it. Most things about the space are ideal - its location in the heart of the best shopping area on West 4th and its soaring ceiling heights with skylights and great building condition. We were excited enough that we were willing to compromise on its size - it is only 1200 sq. feet which is teeny for a shoe store and will make our backroom planning feel like Tetris.

    In the end, 2144 West 4th was the perfect location for us and we are so excited to bring you an official Poppy Barley store there in May 2023.


    Poppy Barley West 4th



    Poppy Barley West 4th


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