Edmonton is home to the future of Future Shop

future shop Edmonton is getting another Future Shop location, just in time for Christmas. The new store will be quite different than our existing five, however, and not just because it is LEED certified. Located in South Edmonton Common just minutes away from Best Buy (which owns Future Shop), the new store will fill its gigantic 53,000 square foot space with musical instruments, exercise equipment, and other goods not normally found at Future Shop. From the Edmonton Journal:

“This is the future of Future Shop,” said Chris Sallans, general manager of a store so revolutionary, he calls it a “laboratory.” If the concepts work, it will serve as a template for the Burnaby, B.C.-based chain’s stores around the country.

Essentially they want to sell things that are “logical extensions” of products that they already carry. Makes sense to me. Future Shop already sells microwaves, refrigerators, and other home appliances, so why not treadmills and other exercise equipment? Doesn’t seem like much of a stretch. I guess the innovation is in having the much larger capacity.

The music angle is quite interesting though:

Electronic music instruments and equipment may also seem to be an unlikely choice, but Sallans said it’s a wide-open market.

“Musical instruments are an $800-million industry and no other major retailer touches it.”

The store will have a wall of more than 100 guitars. There will be three soundproof rooms for music lessons and drum demos ,and a stage for open-mike nights.

That could be pretty cool, I think. Who knows, maybe Future Shop will even become a bit of a third place (or maybe not, considering you’ll basically need to drive to get there…good old South Edmonton Common).

According to the article, Sallan describes Future Shop as the place for early adopters whereas Best Buy is the place for self-service shoppers. I’m not sure where he got that idea, but I seem to recall the lines at Best Buy being much longer than at Future Shop for high profile product launches (like the Xbox 360).

The new store is looking for 230 employees, and will be holding a job fair this weekend at the Delta Hotel Edmonton South. It should open in early December.

16 thoughts on “Edmonton is home to the future of Future Shop

  1. OMG…I can see i now.

    Customer “What can you tell me about this guitar”
    Sales Guy “Well, its an acoustic guitar. If you like, I can show you the Monster guitar strings that will make this sound even better!”

  2. Best Buys in the USA are starting to experiment with this expanded format as well… makes sense that they’d use their Canadian subsidiary to try it out. I’m looking forward to seeing how if works out. Any idea why they chose Edmonton?

  3. I think D’Arcy’s on the right track with his reaction. It will fit the niche of people looking to “get into music” without knowing any better. Future Shop’s great for the latest XBox game or a cheap router. Once you start getting into stuff where you want some expertise, specialty shops are still the place to go.

    So I imagine they’ll do well for the casual musician. But the Long & McQuade’s of the world probably aren’t quivering too much in their spaceboots.

  4. @ Scott
    Edmonton is quite often used as a test market for things. Quite a few of the stores in West Ed are unique to Canada. I believe, statistically speaking, Edmonton is very ‘average’ in North America. That’s probably not true now, what with the good Albertan economy and the rest of the world going to shit, but it once was.

    @ Kyle
    I’d imagine that the smaller fitness stores are quivering though. Fitness equipment doesn’t have quite such defined sectors as musical instrument (serious people and casual), and even then, the casual is much larger than the serious in fitness kit.
    If I were Flaman Fitness (people with the dudes on treadmills on the side of their two buildings), I’d be worried

  5. I agree with both of the things Rob said!

    I’d also add that for Edmonton, I think we have a higher proportion of shopping centres per capita than most other major cities in North America.

  6. And what make of electronic instruments will there be? I have been looking for electronic keyboards all over Edmonton and the choices are not very good. Someone at one music store told me that Yamaha has exclusive rights to sell their new products in Canada and other lesser/smaller companies like Technics are not allowed to infringe on Yamaha’s monopoly controlled market (this would be the mid-level market).

  7. I happen to work at the new South Edmonton common and think that this store is brilliant. Not only because I work there, but also because of the convenience it is to customers. As for the comment by D’Arcy, we happen to have the number 1 amateur Guitarist in all of Canada working in our Music store as well as a highly qualified Musician who is our Music Store manager who has been playing for over 22 years. This store of course is set up to sell…who doesn’t want to make money but at the same time we also have new positions in this building that are hourly paid and can take all the time you need to explain whatever it is you want. As for the guitars, we carry all major brands with the exception of Gibson and Martin ( for now) and carry some keyboards that I have heard are hard to find elsewhere.

  8. @Tanya: Future Shop will not get the rights to sell Gibson. Yorkville Sound is the distributer for Gibson in Canada… Yorkville Sound is owned by Long & McQuade. L&M is opening a new store this spring less than 5 minutes from the new Future Shop.

    I also highly doubt you carry all major brands, in fact I’ll stop in tomorrow just to see how many major brands you are carrying!

    Lets list some:
    Fender
    Gretsch
    PRS
    Jackson
    Taylor
    Segull
    Godin
    Norman
    Ernie Ball/Music Man
    Dean
    Epiphone
    Fernandes

    What about amps?
    Marshall (probably the entry level solid state stuff)
    Peavey
    Vox
    Mesa Boogie
    Orange
    Fender
    Ampeg
    Traynor

    Makes me laugh!

  9. Just checked the FS website… NOT only does the website only have some of the crappiest stuff by the big brands, but they are also overpriced! IE: Phase 90 for $135. When you can get it from an L&M or any other music shop in the city for $100!

  10. Naw I’m with luke on this one, I am super sick and tired of seeing people who dont know any better buy absolute crap instruments from department stores. I hate seeing kids struggling to try to learn how to play instruments that are nearly unplayable that their parents got from The Source or wallmart, often for very close to the same price that they could have got a real instrument at a better store. Stores like these capitalise on peoples ignorance and the end result is would-be musicians giving up in frustration. Dont take a chill pill Luke, stay pissed off.

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