Lee Valley - Toronto West - WOW!


I had read the posts about Lee Valley, but was not sure if I really believed it.
A made a visit to the store this week when I was on a trip to Toronto.
I am sold. The displays are useful and wonderful, the staff knowledgeable and the stock is deep. I ordered half a dozen of a couple of items, something I can not do at my local hardware...It was no issue.
The prices were reasonable.
If you get to Toronto, make sure you visit one of the stores...and if you do not want to go home broke, leave the credit cards at the hotel.
All I can say is - Robin - When are you coming to Michigan?
Doug
PS I have no ties to the store or the owners - I am just a satisfied customer!
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Doug Houseman wrote:

Me too. I work across the road from the flaghsip store in Ottawa, and I'm in there at least once a week. I was in today, with a problem that the sales staff solved for me. It's like that almost every time; someone knows something. And if the staff don't, a customer may pipe up with an answer.
The Lees truly seem to know what they're doing, and that translates to everyone associated with the store.
Tanus
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The Doug Houseman entity posted thusly:

Ain't they wonderful? I once told a staff member that if I ever won a lottery, the first thing I'd do is come in and order 1 of everything, then come back for more of the REALLY neat things.
No Lee Valley in Regina, unfortunately, but I may be going to Vancouver for a week or so in May, and you can bet a visit to LV is in the plan.
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I was to the Lee Valley in Sasktoon a month ago and I was quite impressed. I have been to the flagship store in Ottawa and to the store in Winnipeg and so far I found the Saskatoon store the nicest. Just anothere excuse for a trip to Toon Town.

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I keep wondering if the average American, having never seen the inside of a Lee Valley store, imagines a huge American-style big-box store with aisles and aisles of great stuff. I also wonder if they'd be stunned to see that a typical Lee Valley is actually a tiny little store with _one_ of everything on a bunch of displays and an order counter in front of a warehouse.
It's funny how long it takes me to walk through those little stores...
Mike
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wrote:

I've always imagined something more along the lines of a Woodcraft store, just with cooler stuff. It sounds more like a Woodworkers' Supply store; relatively small display area with a warehouse for the big stuff.
+--------------------------------------------------------------------------------+ If you're gonna be dumb, you better be tough +--------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
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(snip )

store,
(snip)
Hi Mark -
Typical store configuration is 20-25K sq feet, with 6-8k in showroom, and the balance in mezzanined warehouse...
Each store is similar, but has it's own character.
The one with the most "character" will open a week today - in downtown Toronto.... It's in a heritage warehouse building in downtown Toronto - and will occupy 1 1/2 floors....
Will see if I can scrounge up the links to some pictures....WIP only, not fully set-up....
Cheers -
Rob
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Thanks for the preview of the new store. Looks very similar to the WWS store in Albuquerque, NM, except I bet yours will have much more cool stuff vis a vis hand tools. (WWS is pretty cool from the power tool side).
Too bad ya'll aren't located anywhere in the southwest US. [Then again, maybe that's a good thing].
+--------------------------------------------------------------------------------+ If you're gonna be dumb, you better be tough +--------------------------------------------------------------------------------+
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(snip)

store,
(snip)
Here you go .... a rec.ww exclusive.... interior pics of the new store - set-up in progress!
All pics are about 100K....
http://www.leevalley.com/home/temprl/sr1.jpg
http://www.leevalley.com/home/temprl/sr2.jpg
http://www.leevalley.com/home/temprl/sr3.jpg
http://www.leevalley.com/home/temprl/sr4.jpg
http://www.leevalley.com/home/temprl/sr5.jpg
http://www.leevalley.com/home/temprl/sr6.jpg
http://www.leevalley.com/home/temprl/sr7.jpg
Cheers -
Rob
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The display areas look substantially bigger than the Eastern and Western Toronto stores. ~ or is that only because stock hasn't yet been laid out on the shelves? Either way, it looks like a prime piece of real estate.
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wrote:

Oh, Man! Any chance we'll ever see anything like that down here in Houston? I'd love to browse one of the stores; the LV catalog is the only one of the WW types that my wife will take the time to look through when it shows up in the mail. Might be something to do with those fabulous cover layouts...
I'm going to have to see about stopping at that Toronto store in September on my way up to our cottages on Stony Lake. When does it open up (looks like you're pretty close)?
Cliff
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store;
Hi Cliff -
It opens one week from today...
Cheers -
Rob
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a Lee Valley

of great stuff.

actually a tiny little

in front of a

There's a few distinct advantages and disadvantages to such a set-up. Biggest advantage is you don't get customers ripping open boxes to examine stuff and leaving a mess with parts and wrapping all over the place. The collateral to that is there's few things more exasperating that getting home with your package and finding that something is missing from the box. I image it would also cut down on shoplifting. Second thing I like is that you can actually examine a completely assembled product and almost always know immediately if it's capable of doing what you need it to do. One other thing that every customer likes is that the staff are extremely knowledgeable and willing to go out of their way to help you decide on your purchasing decision. I don't know if that's part of the comradely of a fellow woodworker or that LV managers look for employees with that type of temperament ~ probably a little of both.
The only disadvantage that comes to mind *is* the limited space. LV stores are often very busy and getting around in the store can be difficult (especially for me in my wheelchair). Occasionally, there's product areas in the store that are virtually impossible for me to reach and then I have to order a product and examine it at the order counter to know if I want to buy it or not. But then, I usually come armed with a measure of product knowledge from what I've read in their excellent catalogue or viewed on their website.
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Well -
On the idea of boxes - there are few - everything is out and in displays for you to see...all the pieces in the box are in clear view, knobs, screws, bits, etc.
I wanted a pocket hole jig...and I could not decide from the catalog...in I went and there as a whole end cap devoted to it, complete with workpieces in place, so you could see how each piece worked.
As for wheelchair, I think the knobs might be a problem, they run to 8 or so feet above the floor and the full length pantry setup to show off all the bins and shelves and things might be a problem, but most of the rest is between 18 and 42 inches off the floor.
Doug
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It is amazing, that is my problem. I work about 15 minutes from that store and I have to be careful to not visit too often - it can be Hard on the bank account! Soooo many toys, too little income to pay for them. Brad
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Hi Doug -
Thanks for kind comments.... glad you enjoyed the visit!
Cheers -
Rob
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