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Arc’teryx Celebrates New Location with Community-Driven Grand Opening

Technical outdoor apparel brand Arc’teryx opened a new location in Chicago’s Southport Corridor this month, marking the retailer’s 4th Chicagoland area store. Our McMillanDoolittle team attended Arc’teryx’s engaging and community-centric Grand Opening event. If you’re a retailer looking to design a memorable and customer-centric experience, contact us for a consultation.

A store opening serves as a pivotal moment for introducing (or relaunching) a brand with a new community, particularly for direct-to-consumer brands that have limited owned touchpoints with existing and potential customers. Grand openings provide a unique opportunity to communicate brand values, mission, and points of difference through strategic partnerships and offerings in omnichannel and even analog-first ways.

In recent years, retailers have increasingly relied on influencers to digitally promote new locations, leveraging their broad reach and influence across social media platforms. This trend has transformed many store openings into exclusive, invitation-only events strategically designed to create shareable content with influencer personalities as well as local celebrities.

However, branded retailers such as Arc’teryx continue to prioritize direct engagement with community members – a move that exudes authenticity rather than exclusivity in the outdoor space. Leading up to its Grand Opening Party in April, Arc’teryx hosted a series of events to generate community buzz, including a trail run with an after party in February and a free climb night at a local rock-climbing gym in March.

Since 2019, Arc’teryx has opened more than 20 locations in the US. The Canada-based, premium brand is part of Amer Sports and is identified as a key brand in the portfolio; Arc’teryx has experienced significant revenue growth of over 50% between 2022 and 2023.

Read on for key considerations when planning a store opening or pop-up activation that reinforces brand positioning – and to discover how Arc’teryx’s most recent, dynamic opening embodies these principles.

Planning a Grand Opening Event: Points for Consideration

  1. Community Engagement: Retailers can explore various communities to tap into when planning a grand opening. This could include social groups, non-profit organizations, and relevant institutions. Arc’teryx strategically partners with local running clubs to connect with customers through planning “Community 5K Runs” that begin and conclude at the store.
    people waiting outside a store

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  2. Intentional F&B Offerings: Food and drink present an opportunity to convey messages about your brand. Arc’teryx offered customized kombucha, cookies, empanadas, and yerba mate to guests.
    Arc'teryx branded refreshments

    Photo Credit: McMillanDoolittle

  3. Atmosphere Curation: Retailers must consider sensory aspects such as music and lighting when creating an immersive and celebratory grand opening experience. At its grand opening, Arc’teryx featured a DJ playing upbeat tunes and fostering a festive, energizing ambiance.
    DJ booth

    Photo Credit: McMillanDoolittle

  4. Driving Traffic: Grand openings may include limited-time offerings, such as promotional discounts, exclusive products and services, and giveaways to boost attendance. Marketing these buzz-worthy offerings might involve email blasts and media campaigns. Arc’teryx offered 50 customers a chance to win an Arc’teryx prize if they registered online for the sweepstakes.

If you’re seeking to design a creative and memorable opening event, contact McMillanDoolittle for a consultation and follow us on Instagram for additional inspiration.

If you enjoyed this post, please check out our past editions of Retail Watch, featuring recent store launch programming highlights from CoachRivian, and Dom’s Kitchen & Market.

Maddie McBride

Maddie is an analyst on the consumer insights and innovation team at McMillanDoolittle, supporting quantitative and qualitative primary research methodologies, business analysis, strategic planning, and new concept, format and product development. She brings recent expertise in human-centered design, creative workshop facilitation, and statistical analysis to her project work. Maddie received her BA in Economics from the University of Notre Dame.

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