Anyone in the process of a remodel or home makeover can attest to the hassle of driving all over the city to visit suppliers. Vancouver’s Armoury District, reopened as of May 20th, 2020, with adjusted retail hours and government regulated safety protocols (think masks, personal distancing, gloves and hand sanitizer) provides a reprieve, with home-furnishing retailers and interior-design services all within walking distance. —Jeanine Gordon
the district. Located just west of the entrance to Granville Island and named for the Seaforth Armoury at the base of the Burrard bridge, the Armoury District is a Kitsilano treasure. Albert Yee of Livingspace sees the location as one of the district’s biggest draws. “It’s open, easy, walkable and convenient to get to—with beautiful views,” he says. This is exactly what Ravi Sidhoo of East India Carpets (EIC) envisioned when he spearheaded the development and spirit of the district.
shopper's delight. If you’re debating visiting online retailers or suburban suppliers for your home décor needs, there are plenty of reasons to reconsider. A trip to the Armoury District offers a distinctively unique and pleasurable experience. For Mary Watson of Metropolitan Home, “The selection and choice combined with the luxury of the area gives shoppers an enjoyable way to spend an afternoon.” Another standout quality is the collaboration and camaraderie between retailers, where there’s a spirit of community rather than competition. For Shawn Henderson of Ann Sacks, “The synergy between businesses is amazing.” Patricia Kramer of Kravet praises the other businesses in the area, naming “fine art, rugs, gorgeous tile, fabulous kitchens and jaw-dropping architectural hardware,” as some of the décor goods that neighbouring stores offer. Retailers don’t hesitate to send their clients to EIC for luxe rugs or to Ann Sacks for their tile needs. In fact, several shops have adjoining entryways, allowing customers to easily flow back and forth. Tara Fraser of EIC also works with other retailers to create communal events to benefit the district’s businesses and shoppers alike.
design destination. For David Keeler of Provide Home, “The Armoury District is a great community of complementary businesses. We are a destination for interior designers where they are able to visit multiple retailers in a matter of hours. Our customers benefit from the easy access and relaxed atmosphere.” With one-stop-shop convenience and the benefit of chic cafés popping up, this friendly district takes the stress and intimidation-factor out of interior décor shopping. Henderson praises the experience of visiting the area, saying, “Clients come to the Armoury District because they trust us. The experience of strolling from luxury business to business and having a prosecco or latte without experiencing high-pressure sales tactics is what every client wants.”
modern consumers. For Fraser, the sophistication of the district’s businesses attracts modern clients who are savvy and educated. “New technologies introduce speed and design precision. At the same time, you are able to visit in person, touch the items, take them home and decide if they fit into the space.” For Yee, “Customers know more about styles, products and brands from online research, but they still see value in coming in person where they get personalized service. You can’t replace that.” Keeler enjoys seeing knowledgeable customers’ visit the store. “Over the years people have become more aware of all elements of the home-décor industry. They follow design professionals and taste-makers online and want to apply the same level of sophistication to their own homes.” The education of Ann Sacks’ customers excites Henderson, who says, “Our clients use Instagram and our website to realize their vision for their space. We support them with stunning products, exceptional service and project management.”
unlimited possibilities. The Armoury District’s future is bright. Kramer sees a boom in the district’s future. “There will be huge growth in terms of the population over the next few years as building around the Burrard bridge will happen and we’re looking forward to the evolving population,” she says. Watson is eager to see “more like-minded people and more retail” come to the area, and Fraser believes “we are currently witness to the evolving nighbourhood. It’s super exciting!” For Keeler, it’s the district’s independent spirit that he wants to see continue. “I love that there are so many independent retailers with their own viewpoint. It would be my wish that more local home-décor businesses pop up in the coming years. We thrive in numbers.” With the growing population of businesses and the surge of design-loving shoppers, a visit to the Armoury District is now an essential Vancouver experience.