Monday, May 15, 2017

MINISO Coming to Winnipeg Soon

It is reported that MINISO is in negotiations with malls in Winnipeg to open sometime in 2017.The Japanese/Chinese sore started in 2013 is based in China and appears to be in direct competition to Asian stores UNIQLO and MUJI which are spreading across Canada.

The store is an affordably priced variety store, that sells household and consumer goods, cosmetics, stationery, toys and kitchenware. It would appears that the sore company has Dollarma clearly in their sites as well as other value retailers. They aim to open 500 stores as a long term goal. However, their short term goal is 30 to 50 and soon.

Polo Park would seem the obvious location as well as St. Vital.

It has been and up and down time in retail in Canada. Some stores have shut while many others have opened. It has been heady times. Meanwhile Amazon continues to grow to be the elephant in the room.

New mall developments are adding other components like gyms, housing and entertainment. The Outlets of Seasons has a mix of almost everything including care dealerships and hotels.

The mall has not died yet but there are challenges. However, MINISO could re-write the book on what suceeeds in the future.

Wait to hear an announcement for Winnipeg soon.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Winnipeg Goldeyes New Season

Winnipeg's sports teams might be storied but it is a long time since they were champions. That is, unless, you are talking about the Winnipeg Goldeyes. In 2016, for the second time in five years they won the American Association championship. It was an exciting season that saw Goldeyes clink a spot on the last day of the season clinched a play-off spot. In each the rounds of the play-offs, they came from behind to win. Boring, it was not.

This year's season kicks off against Winnipeg long time rival the Fargo RedHawks on Wednesday at 6 for a two game homestand. Many old favourites on the team are returning and several exciting new faces as well. A few retirements and a few call ups to the big leagues as well.

The teams in the north and central divisions remain stable this year in terms of city and owners but the south division remains a bit of a gong show. Laredo Lemurs has shut and a new team Salina Stockade will play a few games in Kansas and travel the rest of the time as a visiting home team.

Independent league baseball is colourful and entertaining and the Goldeyes play in one of the most beautiful small stadiums in North America.  It is the quality of the entertainment and food and love of sport that bring people back year after year. Some sports have been called the No Fun League and that can't be said for baseball in Winnipeg.

For those who can't come to to a game, the radio broadcast on CJNU is one of the most professional you'll find with Steve Schuster. The coaching, management and staffing are worthy of a big league franchise.

Spring training wraps up and the team takes to the field Wednesday and it seems like the return of an old friend. And indeed since 1994, the Goldeyes have become part of the Winnipeg mosaic.

Thursday, May 4, 2017

The Opening of Outlet Collection Winnipeg

The crowd wound around the building before 9 AM
The Food Court entrance from the back of Outlet Collection
It seemed an impossible task that the $200 million Outlet Collection Winnipeg factory mall would open on May 3rd. Construction continued all this week and into the morning. IHOP and  McDonald's are all waiting to be completed just outside the mall. The Audi, Porsche dealerships are under construction and the Hilton Hotel is nearer completion.

The mall inside minus some notable exceptions is complete and looks fantastic. Some of the biggest outlets stores are all done including DSW, Nike, Under Armour and Saks OFF FIFTH.

The Food Court was the site of a opening ceremony hosted by Ace Burpee and featured the premier, the mayor and the builders of the mall Ivanhoe Cambridge.

Entertainment, food, models and many dignitaries were in every seat and standing to every side. Nearly 60 retail executives from Ivanhoe Cambridge were there to see the opening and and attend a 2 day business conference. Politicians of every stripe and media of all kinds were in the crowd.

Performers at the ceremony
The ceremony was not long. Ace Burpee acted as host and speeches were made by Premier Brain Pallister, Mayor Brian Bowman and President of Ivanhoe Cambridge Claude Sirois. They welcomed assembled crowd and the people outside.

General Manager of the mall, Dimitrios Cotsianis, announced that the mall would be giving $10,000 to a local charity. It would be up to mall patrons to decide who. he tanked all those who helped bring the mall to fruition. Nearly 2000 workers helped in those last days before the deadline to get things ready.

Premier Brian Pallister
Mayor Brian Bowmna
President Claude Sirois, Ivanhoe Cambridge
General Manager Dimitrios Cotsianis, Outlet Collection

While the speeches were happening, a train rolled through the back and parked behind. It was just a reminder of what the Seasons of Tuxedo site was just a few short years ago: a railyard. Also visible was the huge crowds snaking around the building including a lot of kids who otherwise should have been school. Police and heavy security along Kenaston and Sterling Lyon directed people into the packed mall.  Organizers estimated that at the opening, there might have been 4000 people at the doors.

Following the speeches, media was led to the door opening and people literally ran inside.

Crowd running in
It wasn't long before all the stores were packed to the rafters and traffic reports were saying the street was filled with cars and people

Some stores and restaurants in and outside the mall will open into the fall. Expect it to be busy for the next while!

Much of the photography by Matraisa Klippenstein. Thanks for her professional work that day.