• Roots on June 15 is opening new doors on Boston’s Newbury Street and plans two more stores in the area, at The Natick Mall June 28 and Market Street Lynnfield June 30, according to a company press release.
  • The Boston location, on a shopping street that is likewise full of creative store concepts and formats, is a 3,250 square-foot gallery-style space with a multi-sensory shopping experience, the Canadian outdoor retailer said.
  • The company went public in October, raising $200 million Canadian dollars (about $160 million U.S.) in its initial public offering and in December announced a major expansion into the U.S., starting with Boston and Washington, DC.

Dive Insight:

Roots is all in when it comes to brick and mortar, at malls as well as in downtown centers, but the retailer is building the kind of experiential stores that more and more retailers are turning to, starting with its first customization lab in Toronto, opened last summer. The effort from an outdoorsy retailer is predicated in part on connecting with urban customers, what the retailer said in its release is “uniting cabin life to city life.”

The company is something of a “slow fashion” retailer. While textile and apparel manufacturing in general has sped up since the Industrial Revolution, “fast fashion” in particular has perfected speed, with Spain’s Zara arguably snagging the crown for speediest. Roots, by contrast, is clearly not interested in speed so much as nurturing a level of personalization that entails slow-fashion levels of custom-ordered design elements. In Canada, Roots has also cultivated an urban following thanks to its dedication to high-quality basics and a marketing push that includes relationships with several Canadian musicians.

In a new effort unique so far to Boston, Roots is inviting consumers to engage with the brand through installations fostering sight, sound, touch and feel that promote the origins and heritage of Roots. The purpose, according to the company’s CEO and President, is to foster further customer engagement — and the “activation center,” as the store concept is called, has never been done before by the company.

Vignettes in the store highlight key product stories around its Roots Original Salt & Pepper Sweats, the Cooper Beaver Collection, the Hand-crafted Leather Collection, the Seasonal Fleece Collection and the Cabin Collection. The installations will be regularly refreshed to launch a new season or campaign, according to the release.

Customers place orders at the store’s “Roots Sweat Bar” to personalize handcrafted leather bags and Awards Jackets at its Leather Customization Workshop, including with a selection of badges and patches exclusive to the Boston area, the company also said.

Source: Roots debuts sensory-driven store in continued US expansion

Random sensory quotes

“Where there is a stink of shit there is a smell of being”

— Antonin Artaud