SHOP TALK: Retail rejig in Wellie West, Westboro
Shop Talk

SHOP TALK: Retail rejig in Wellie West, Westboro

Shop Talk is written by OM senior editor Dayanti Karunaratne and Sarah Fischer, OM account executive and fashion maven.

Photo by Sarah Fischer

Never mind the huge condo developments and the foodie hotspots. There’s also a wave of new retail going into the ‘hoods of Wellington West and Westboro. Every time we cruise this bustling strip, there are more comings-and-goings to note. Herewith, our observations, musings, wishes, and fears.

Slaysh relocates
From 775 Bank St. to 1282-A Wellington St. W.
This move strikes us as a bit of an ill-fit; the Glebe seemed such a perfect loction for this store that sells trendy gear for the cottage-and-country-club set. That said, lately we’re hearing more young professionals talking about Slaysh, so maybe it’s becoming a source for the work hard/play hard types. (Watch ST next week for news about the former tenant, Renee Levesque)

Red Velvet closes
1243 Wellington St. W.
We never saw too much action in this place, so no real surprise here. Though they had some interesting Eurpoean lines (e.g., Dekker, Ted Baker), staff were often kind of ambivalent. Elgin had a different vibe — we wish them all the best! (Hey, shopping after drinks can be fun! Dangerous, but fun.)

Allegro openings
1283 Wellington St. W. and 1243 Wellington St. W.
Two stores — one street? Daring for a woman whose ByWard Market location burned down a few years back. But we have had great luck at the vintage shop near Holland. The other location carries the same great clothing, bags, jewellery, and hats that can be found at the downtown store.

This block of Richmond see the most change, with Norml, Manhattan Marque, and The Cupcake Lounge opening second locations. Photo by Sarah Fischer.

Manhattan Marque opening
Second location at 322 Richmond Rd.
This is the nexus of change. MM goes into the space formerly occupied by Valberg Imaging, and right beside the soon-to-open second location of Cupcake Lounge. (Remember ladies: fitting rooms first, cupcakes second!) We hear that this boutique will cater more to a younger demographic. Maybe they will pick up where Red Velvet left off?

Norml opening
New location at 318 Richmond Rd.
Also in the hub of a busy retail block, there’s some confusing signage here: at first glance, it looks like this Ottawa company tried to open a special women’s boutique. On closer inspection, it’s the space on the second floor that now for lease. Still, their website only lists their downtown location (184 Rideau St.). What does the future hold? (Oh, and while we’re talking about their website, it’s beautiful and functional —like a ShopBop for men and other lovers of streetstyle.)

Efemer closes
1237 Wellington St. W.
This cute jewelry store didn’t last long. We see their website lists a new on-line store. Hard to imagine how they will offer “listening, advice, satisfaction” through the intimacy of the Internet — and the virtual store isn’t even working.

Vanilla opening
Second location at 279 Richmond Rd.
The Elgin store always has stunning window displays, and it seems like they know their market. It appears they are enjoying some success — it’s been one year since they opened a second location. While the youngsters spin their wheels on Instagram/Twitter/etc., this stalwart is like the reliable (and fashionable) tortoise — no website, but their Facebook page reveals a committed following.

So what’s next?
We noticed that Heather’s, a consignment store at 401 Richmond Rd., is still looking for new tenants, as is Louise’s Belgian Chocolates (those sweets being so good that clients will drive to Bell’s Corners). What does this bustling ‘hood need? We’re wishing for a funky shoe store — certainly Ottawa can support a Fluevog boutique? C’mon, Toronto has one!