Popular sneaker store is closing its only Toronto location
After five years on Queen West, sneaker shop Exclucity has closed.
The popular destination for shoes and streetwear — which opened on 552 Queen St. West in 2015 — is being replaced by a cannabis store called Cori, slated to open this fall, according to signage on the window.
It's not an eviction story, as so many closures have turned out to be during the pandemic.
According to Exclucity founder Trent, a.k.a. Trent Out Loud, the lease was up, and operating solely online has proved to be far more profitable for the sneaker shop than a pricey lease on a two-storey Queen West property.
"As a business owner, I had to think of what the future will be like," says Trent. "My customers were already online. I'm not recreating the wheel."
At one point, Exclucity had eight physical stores across Canada, including four in the GTA.
Today, the closure of the shop on Queen West means there's only one Exclucity shop left Canada-wide. And though the store in Montreal is expected to reopen eventually, it remains closed since temporarily shuttering its doors in mid-March.
"I used to dream about having 30 stores across Canada," says Trent. "I was a little naive."
But Trent says "the ink's not dry yet."
Though the majority of Exclucity's customers know exactly what kind of sneakers they want, and in what size, he says there's still some value in having a brick-and-mortar store in the city.
Nothing's confirmed yet, but there are plans to introduce 'experiential' Exclucity stores: spaces that focus more on branding and less on sales, kind of like the sneaker equivalent of an Apple store.
It's in the works, but Trent hints a collaboration with its store successor, Cori, which he says is another Black-owned business. That means 552 Queen West might one day be home to Exclucity again, in some form or another.
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