STAY FRESH - A Reintroduction

STAY FRESH - A Reintroduction

April 12, 2021

Growing up idolizing Michael Jordan, the Chicago Bulls and various NBA legends during the “Dynasty Era,” a small group of childhood friends found the correlation between sports and sneakers went hand-in-hand.  The passion of the sport and its athletes eventually became the common story where; to be “like Mike,” you had to dress like him.  And nothing was more representative of a showcase for this passion than his sneakers.  Eventually amassing a collection enough to fill a store, these childhood friends decided to take that into practice.  The result of which was an online shop featuring an enviable selection of personal sneakers and newly acquired items destined to populate our website.  With the success and popularity of our online venture, a physical brick and mortar store was the next logical evolution.

STAY FRESH Aberdeen Square (now closed)

Opening our doors to the public in October of 2014, STAY FRESH was located in a newly developed shopping centre in Richmond, BC. Aberdeen Square saw a number of specialty stores and STAY FRESH realized the opportunity to take advantage of the ultra specific offerings that made the mall special.  STAY FRESH was set to offer rare, vintage, valuable and generally “hard to get” collectible sneakers to the public. One of the main directives for this untested business model was not only to sell sneakers, but also to educate unassuming visitors about the sneaker culture. Who was a part of it?  And what values are offered with it?  STAY FRESH became a common place for like minded people to browse limited edition sneakers they once had, want to acquire, or just curious about what they looked and felt like in person.  It also offered an opportunity for their guests to share their passion, knowledge and experiences with others in a space where the context of the stories needs no further explanation. It was just “understood.”

STAY FRESH Pacific Centre Pop-Up (now closed)

In June of 2018, an opportunity to open a second store in a high profile location was presented to us.  The Pacfic Centre, Downtown Vancouver location proved to be a more suitable space to feature a wide variety of sneakers, streetwear and all things related to the culture.  Drawing in thousands of guests daily, the new location was meant to be a “Pop-in Up'' space, and was set to close after only one month.  With the guests’ support of the Pop-Up, Pacific Centre inevitably extended our stay to over 2 years until the summer of 2020.

 

The Lab by STAY FRESH at Metrotown Centre

The third store under the STAY FRESH umbrella opened in Metrotown Centre in the summer of 2019, named “THE LAB.”  THE LAB was conceived as an experimental shopping experience.  Offering more types of items and services than the Richmond and Downtown locations, THE LAB features more “entry level” selection of sneakers and streetwear, but also made the entire STAY FRESH catalogue available to our guests.  Customers, for the first time, can also find a healthy collection of pre-owned sneakers varying in styles and condition.  This offered the public a chance to cop some high valued items at a much more affordable price.

STAY FRESH Richmond Centre

With the success of the 2 Pop-Ups, STAY FRESH decided to open a more permanent solution to our retail experience.  The Richmond Centre Flagship store opened in March of 2020 and serves as a “replacement” for the Pacific Centre and Aberdeen Square locations.  The custom designed space was inspired by the original ideas for what STAY FRESH would have looked like from our original concepts of 2014.  The STAY FRESH brand would be represented through its product availability, customer service, and overall visitor experience with the upgrade in space.  The expansion of the retail space also means a more diverse variety of products.  Adapting to consumer demands saw the acquisition of many ultra limited toys, art pieces and autographed items on display at this new location.  The regular extensions to the pop-ups, rapid expansion and relocation of the stores was made possible by the support from the customers.  Which, in turn, proved that the sneaker and streetwear community is strong and only getting more prevalent in the Vancouver area.  The constant feedback received definitely helped us move into a direction that best serves that community who are now more aware of the products than ever before.

STAY FRESH has seen a rhythm of growth larger than we could have anticipated.  The new expansion was a way to facilitate the demand for products and services that was unavailable at the beginning of the business’s cycle.  Always trying to further the reach within the community, STAY FRESH plans on experimenting with new ways of providing products, content and experiences to our audience.  With the addition of many new members to the team, STAY FRESH needs to remember why the brand was started in the first place.  Reconnecting the brand to the culture it represents is crucial in defining the community it once helped build in Canada. The now “mainstream” subculture will be the new premise of how STAY FRESH plans to reconnect with people; through passion, knowledge, and experiences.  With the support and growth of our customers, it’s time to fully realize the original vision of what STAY FRESH was set off to be when we first opened our doors to a quiet 300 sq. ft. space in Aberdeen Square.

Written by: Eugene Lau
Photography: Andrew Lau, Ricky Lee
Photo Layout by: KJ Mishra

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