Malls don’t look like they used to these days — and that’s not a bad thing.
Take Southcentre Mall, for example, home to Collab YYC, which opened its doors in the spring of 2020 when husband and wife duo Jaclyn and Cameron Daw saw a need during the height of the pandemic for unique spaces to showcase the work and products of local businesses.
What better way to do that than set up shop at a mall, which is more accessible for consumers and where foot traffic is guaranteed to introduce some new customers.
It’s all about supporting local business, says Jaclyn.
“At the beginning of the pandemic, a lot of stores were closing, and a lot of them were local,” she explains, adding that as a business owner herself, she wanted to find a solution.
Collab YYC exclusively features Canadian-made products to incubate local talent while introducing shoppers to some of the unique products that are made right here in Calgary and throughout the country.
With 40-plus vendors in-store, Collab carries a wide variety of products from Canadian artisans, ranging from bath and beauty to ceramics and stationery, to jewelry and home décor, and much more.
Not your parents’ mall
The traditional mall setting was once thought of as a place for franchise stores to peddle their products with a food court and a few anchor tenants, but more recently, local malls are turning to creative options such as YYC Collab.
“The mall has great natural foot traffic, and it provides a safe space for vendors to be able to showcase their products in a new venue,” Jaclyn explains, adding the pandemic forced local businesses to get creative and pivot.
It also allows vendors to showcase their product in a different setting than they would usually either online or at various seasonal markets, for example.
“Malls have natural visitors for different elements, such as the food court or bigger department stores. It allows them to get visitors familiar with their business and potentially get new sales and long-term customers.”
A win-win-win for everyone
The duo decided south Calgary was in dire need of a locally-driven vendor-type shopping experience, so they decided Southcentre Mall would be the perfect location to bring Collab YYC to life.
“We love supporting the local community and helping small businesses thrive. Supporting local has always been a kinda mantra in our household and [we] hope to spread that message to others.”
The initiative has been well received not only from local makers and vendors, but consumers as well, Jaclyn says.
“We’ve only seen an increase in support from the community and the makers. It’s been really good and we’re working on new ideas on how to support the community and keep growing Collab and the concept of supporting local.”
Mother’s Day weekend market
Southcentre Mall and Collab YYC have teamed up to present a special Mother’s Day Market inside the mall on Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. featuring 19 unique local vendors.
Visitors can expect to find a locally curated selection of goods ranging from apparel and art, to food and beverage, to home décor and jewelry, just to name a few.
“There will be lots of great vendors spread out over two floors. We have a curation of everything that you would need for a last-minute gift for mom, or even spoil yourself,” Jaclyn adds.
For Southcentre, the market is a chance to help local businesses gain exposure to new audiences, but also creates a sense of community among retailers, makers, creators, and prospective shoppers, while simultaneously contributing to the local economy.
“Southcentre actively facilitates opportunities for businesses to build meaningful connections, develop brand awareness, and foster the spirit of entrepreneurship our city is known for,” says Alexandra Velosa, marketing manager at Southcentre Mall.
An opportunity of a lifetime
For 18-year-old Zahan Syeda, this market is the perfect opportunity for her to showcase the business she started at just 17-years-old.
Inspired by her love for makeup, Syeda decided to bring affordable luxury eyelashes to the market right here in Calgary. She only sells 100 per cent vegan and cruelty-free eyelashes for a much more affordable price than other competitors.
She says the market this weekend is the opportunity of a lifetime for her business.
“I wouldn’t normally be able to have a store at the mall myself but to still get this kind of exposure is life-changing,” she says adding she’s excited about the level of exposure she will get this weekend.
“I love shopping at Southcentre and to now to be able to have my dream stand by all these other big businesses and have people just even see them side by side is a dream come true.”
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