Skip to main content

Retail Store Ideas that are Too Specialized?

I’m walking around in one of the most rapidly developing areas of downtown Vancouver, the DTES. This spot is traditionally the poorest neighbourhood of Vancouver (actually, it’s the poorest in all of Canada), but many new businesses have opened up here to much success. Many food joints such as Acme Cafe, Save on Meats, and Cartems have successfully maintained a good balance with the neighbourhood, as well attracting new people who would usually not venture into this part of town.

When I saw the above “coming soon” business, I thought to myself, I don’t see it doing well here. Poor neighbourhood, not a lot of money, and a very specialized group of people who shop for lingerie, and on top of that, plus size men only. I was also wondering what the window display would look like. Would it be tasteful, or just plain tacky? Where would they get plus-size men’s mannequins? I checked up on it a few months later, scared to see what would be on display, and this is what I saw….

They decided to change their game plan altogether. However, they went from one very narrowly focused business idea to an even more “specialized” concept: Hats for Cats. I’m not sure if that means its a store that only sells hats for cats? How about dogs, or rabbits? Maybe I’m not in touch with present pet trends, but I’ve never seen anyone’s cats with hats on. I’ve never even seen a cat-hat section in any pet store I’ve been in, and I’ve been to a lot. We had a cat for 12 years, and I’ve never thought of buying Koko a hat to wear, not even for fun. 

But hey, what do I know right? This business may do well here. Who am I to judge. But if I had to choose a store to open up next to my favorite cafe, a plus-size men’s lingerie store, or a hat store for cats, I think I’d pick the later… no offence to plus size men who like to wear lingerie…