brika toronto

Toronto shop featuring local designers has permanently closed their retail locations

Toronto will miss the well-loved and handmade-oriented gift shop featuring local designers now that Brika has officially closed its last remaining brick-and-mortar store.

At one point, Brika had stores In Riverside, Queen West and inside Hudson's Bay at Yonge and Queen. There were also temporary stores at Yorkdale Mall, Square One and other locations in Canada and the United States.

Brika started as an online retailer when it was founded in 2012 by Jennifer Lee Koss and Kena Paranjape.

After numerous pop-ups, including their very first at the downtown Hudson's Bay store, Koss and Paranjape’s dream of opening a brick-and-mortar shop became reality in 2015.

“We realized that there was so much power and connection in offline environments,” said Koss. “We started looking for spaces to open a shop and Queen West was our dream spot.”

The shop quickly became a local favourite for creatives and gift-shoppers alike with its eclectic mix of jewellery, kitchen supplies, art and cards.

Koss, who now runs the company on her own since co-founder, Paranjape moved on about a year ago, has decided to focus her time and energy on pop-ups across North America now that the store's five-year lease has come to an end.

Koss says this means switching to more of a business-to-business model and also focusing on anything and everything retail-related. 

"We have now worked with almost every single major property developer across Canada and with brands big and small," said Koss.

“We're excited to continue our mission of working with, promoting and distributing the best brands and products out there.”

In the meantime, Koss is hosting virtual pop-ups. The daily live sessions on Instagram include question and answer segments with new brands each day. 

Although she’s excited about what the next chapter holds for Brika, Koss says she’s going to miss the store, as well as the neighbourhood of Queen West.

“We have absolutely loved our little shop and all the love we've received from our customers over the years,” said Koss.“As well as, all the makers, artisans, illustrators, food creators and creatives that we've featured on our shelves.”

Lead photo by

Jesse Milns

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