Relic and Civic Duty Dress Up St. John’s
September 17, 2017
When longtime clothing retailer Ballistic closed its doors last December, retail entrepreneur and former Ballistic store manager Jon Loder jumped at the opportunity to take over and transform the space. “The old business needed to be modernized and updated with a different structure and business model,” says Loder. His new store, Relic, catering primarily to teens and young adults aged thirteen to twenty-five, opened its doors this past June after a major, three-month overhaul.
Loder believes that the new approach to retail is to create a positive customer experience, which he accomplished by introducing softer LED lighting, refinishing the floors, changing the way clothing is displayed, and cutting inventory to one-fifth its former size. “In the 1990s, the retail industry pushed an over-consumption model, which caused the customer to feel overwhelmed when shopping,” he says. “These stores were so jam-packed with merchandise that the shopping experience became like a chore for bargain hunting.” In reducing the amount of merchandise in a manageable level, Loder was able to display the store’s trendsetting clothing more attractively in n effort to draw more customers.
Standing at a towering six feet four inches tall, Loder himself certainly need not worry about store sight lines. But he admits that his height is an anomaly and that most people stand well below the six-foot mark. To make the store easier to maneuver, he lowered the height of the racks and arranged the merchandise to visually attract customer interest through their unusual shapes, colors, and styles.
About a stone’s throw away is Loder’s other retail venture, Civic Duty. Aimed at a slightly older demographic with higher disposable income, Civic Duty specializes in a niche market that Loder felt was being under-served. “I had spent a lot of time travelling to trade shows in fashion-forward cities like San Francisco, Montreal, and New York”, explains Loder, “and saw there was a need for upscale menswear that was more casual than a suit and tie”. The store also features a selection of women’s wear, bags, accessories, and footwear.
A unique customer experience is emphasized at Civic Duty, in fact, Loder took this idea to the extreme by creating a funky, speakeasy-type entrance with an alleyway leading to a small work-space where Relic runs its in-house printing and design functions.
"People seem to enter the space with a sense of curiosity, wondering if they are even in the right place. I love seeing them so engaged."
All of Civic Duty’s inventory is designed and manufactured in the United states and Canada, and although slightly more expensive, it is higher quality and expected to last. It is ideal for the casual workplace environment where employees have the flexibility to dress comfortably but still look stylish. “Civic Duty provides the ability to look good and pout together without having to be formally dresses,” he says.
Local folks are encouraged to stop by either location for a one-of-a-kind shopping experience they will truly enjoy. Others are welcome to visit the stores online at www.civic-duty.ca and www.relicsupply.ca