A New York Times article posted this weekend detailed the recent trend among forward-thinking brands to eschew traditional retail models in favour of a more experiential approach. As companies like Toms see success with their ‘community outpost’ experiments (now more than seven, with plans for more), more businesses are using their bricks and mortar space to create opportunities to connect with shoppers in meaningful ways.

“What is developing (is) a model of the retail store as a community center,” says Steven Kurutz in the article. “A welcoming environment that offers experiences in addition to products.”

Kit and Ace, the runaway success story of JJ Wilson and his stepmother (the son and wife of Chip Wilson, Lululemon’s founder), deemed the Lululemon of streetwear have opened up a Canadian flagship store which includes “hyper-local” custom crafted design, shared workspace with free WiFi, a technical atelier (part tailor shop and part design lab) and an incubator for local up-and-coming designers. Not to mention a small cafe, called Sorry Coffee Co., serving up caffeine and pastries for hungry shoppers and passersby.

BRIKA, one of our own BrandProjects is following a similar path with a new concept store in downtown Toronto, and a follow on retail experience at one of Canada’s premiere luxury malls, Yorkdale Shopping Centre.

The recently opened 3,000-square-foot holiday pop-up shop features a specially curated selection of well-crafted and “highly-giftable” items, a DIY corner, and a cafe that serves up artisanal drinks and baked goods from Moo Milk Bar.

It’s a new way to introduce customers to the BRIKA brand, providing an immersive experience that speaks to what the business is all about: connecting consumers with the story behind the product – and offering opportunities to interact with both the brand and the artisans behind it.

For a full schedule of the workshops and events at BRIKA’s holiday pop-up store, click here.