From the moment I walked into brand new menswear store, Normandy Shoppe, I knew I needed to learn more. Filled with beautifully-curated sartorial goods, this shop is an exciting contribution to Winnipeg's retail scene. Not only do they carry some amazing products you can't find anywhere else in Winnipeg, the aesthetic is so woodsy and homey you just want to curl up and play records with friends all afternoon. Last weekend, I was fortunate enough to meet Amanda, Chris and their adorable pup Norman, take some photos and ask a few questions about Normandy Shoppe.
What made you decide to open Normandy? How did you choose the location?
Chris has lived back and forth between Vancouver and Winnipeg for a couple of years, and he was always inspired by the stores and the aesthetics of Gastown. Then we went on a trip together to Vancouver last year, and we just thought 'Why doesn't Winnipeg have this?' All major cities in Canada have independently-run, well-curated menswear stores, there's no reason why the men of Winnipeg should be deprived of a place to call their own. As far at the space is concerned, we actually wanted this space for a long time. It was originally for rent two years ago and someone got to it before we did, so when the space went up for rent again this summer, we hopped on it right away, and we got it! The area is perfect. We love the space and the store-front windows, and we couldn't ask for a better location.
How do you decide which items and designers to bring in?
Our main thing is we don't want to bring in any brands that are already carried in Winnipeg. We basically just looked at what other menswear stores in Canada were carrying, did a lot of research, and decided on some brands that could accommodate us for our opening. We are still hunting for more brands, we have a couple more that we are introducing before Christmas, and even more for Spring/Summer 2014. We've also had a lot of recommendations from customers that have come in since we opened, suggesting brands that they want to see. We are always listening to what customers are saying and doing our best to bring in brands that people want available in this great city.
What was your inspiration for the decor? Can you tell me a little bit about the pieces you've brought in to furnish the store?
We were inspired by many things for the decor. It's not quite finished yet, some of the displays will be changing over the next couple months as things settle down, but we are really happy with it the way it is. We brought in some local designers such as Roan Barion and Thom Fougere to help furnish the space with their designs, and we also brought in the tables and couches from our own personal collection of mid-century modern furniture. The reclaimed wood for the walls is from a family cabin that got pushed into the bush and forgotten about for years. Chris did all the salvaging throughout the summer whenever we were able to get away for a weekend and installed it all himself. Watching the interior evolve into what it is now has been the greatest experience. Chris was working full time for the City of Winnipeg up until a month ago, so there were many late nights spent working on the space. We are so happy all of the hard work has paid off, people really seem to love it!
How do you see Normandy Shop fitting into the Winnipeg community?
Just by seeing people's reactions to the space as they walk in has really shown us that Winnipeg is ready for a store like this. We always want to be able to accommodate local designers, makers, and artists any way we can, so we plan on having monthly events in the space, ranging from pop-up shops to art shows. We want our space to feel like home to Winnipegers, so we encourage anyone to come on down, spend some time in our living room, lounge, pick some records to listen to, and hang out with Norman (our mini goldendoodle puppy). We want to be a part of the community as much as possible and I think our willingness to always stay engaged with customers and local makers and artists will help us fill in the niche that we see for retail in Winnipeg.
I'm totally in love with the store and can't wait to see more from Amanda and Chris. If you haven't had a chance yet, I'd highly recommend checking it out.