"We wanted this to be a high-end retail store with all the elements that a customer would expect at a high-end retail store," explains Jeff Budway, director of merchandise and retail operations.
"We reached out to a design company and talked about making the perimeter walls so that they can rotate 360 degrees," Budway
"It allows us to put product on the back half of the wall and rotate it 180 degrees so that a new interior wall will show and the other wall can be hidden.
We can, with one quick swing, move from Raptors to Leafs and back again."
partnered with Cisco
for another transitional element that allows the store to switch back and forth easily via digital displays.
"We have 48-inch high-def TVs located inside and outside the store that are programmed with graphic content that we can switch from Raptors to Leafs," Budway
"We can do that with one click of a button."
The store is open to the public during normal business hours but closes 30 minutes prior to each home game and can only be accessed by ticketholders inside the arena during games.
says the fans' response has exceeded MLSE's expectations.
"Financially, the response is way better than we hoped or expected," Budway
"Drake has been the Raptors' brand ambassador for the last year," Budway
always promoting the Toronto Raptors.
grew up in Toronto, he's
a Raptors fan and he
wants the public to know it.
So now we're furthering that relationship and creating a specialized and very exclusive line of merchandise that the OVO brand will help to design, and we are partnering again with Mitchell & Ness
to create it."
The line, which should be delivered in 2015, will essentially be Raptors-branded gear funneled through Drake's vision leading the design and feel of the clothing.
"The merchandise will be inspired by OVO's colors, their font, their style," Budway
"We're no different from a lot of other stadiums and arenas all throughout North America in that we have these disparate systems for everything we do," Budway
"The idea is we want to make things seamless and easy for our fans so they have a great experience - and we want it to be an engaging experience," Budway
"We've heard from the leagues we are in that we are taking a much more progressive stance on how we sell, market and showcase merchandise, and our store, arenas and stadiums are vehicles to do that," Budway
"The old concessionaire mentality was like the fair coming into town during the summer and shucking trinkets your way.
That's the old mentality and for some it's the present mentality.
"What we're trying to do is take the basic expectations that a customer would have if they walked into Lululemon or J.Crew and use all those elements - the reloadable gift card, emailed receipts, loyalty programs, CRM systems, real strong marketing and visual presentation, knowledgeable staff and good customer service," Budway