The lineup started from Wednesday as the anticipation is ramped up for the Grand Opening of the Jordan Brand flagship store at 306 Yonge Street in downtown Toronto, Canada. First in line was a young man named Mukesh who’s somewhat of a celevrity now and has been interviewed by several media outlets already because he’ll be the first customer through the doors at 6:23am Saturday morning. Not sure how much sleep he’s gonna get leading up to that special moment, but that doesn’t seem to matter as he’s been in line for a couple days already. “I got here at 8am on Wednesday morning”, said Mukesh. It’s that kind of enthusiasm that’s going to make the Jordan Brand store a destination for not only hoop heads and sneakerheads but tourists and others just wanting to get in on the “cool factor”, excellence and greatness of what the brand stands for.
306 Yonge Street, if you recall was the site of the temporary iteration of the Jordan store during the 2016 All-Star weekend in the 416. Well now it’s back for good and the basketball community and sneaker community is quite overjoyed to say the least.
The festivities inside the location begun earlier in the week and on Wednesday On Point was invited courtesy of Hoop Club TO to get the first sneak peek at the digs which include a lower floor featuring kids apparel and shoes, the main retail floor and an upstairs training area, appropriately called Centre 23. But the Hoop Club was also in for another surprise as the Jordan Brand team had a workout scheduled for the crew with two former NFL players turned trainers, David Sims & Dennis Dixon alongside Toronto native and trainer Alvin Diaz & co-founder of Myodetox Performance Centre. Safe to say the Hoop Club squad were put through an intense and spirited workout leaving all involved wanting to get out of that building as fast as possible. Many in the group were still feeling it the next day or two after (yeah talking about myself).
A locker room is a very nice touch as well and they will also have showers ready soon for your after workout freshen up. As usual the Jordan Brand/Nike team has pulled out all the stops in this space.
An incredible feature in the building and the only one of it’s kind is all the pairs of Jordans from the first to the current pair of iconic sneakers named after arguably the greatest player in basketball history.
Throughout Wednesday, the building hosted several other group training sessions that no doubt left them feeling the same way as the Hoop Club Team did. Now we know where some of Michael Jordan’s greatness came from as his training sessions have become legendary amongst those who were around to witness them.
Thursday afternoon the Jordan Brand team brought in several sneaker collectors and afficionados for panel discussions and at night the store hosted the opening party which was a top notch affair that included plenty of complimentary food and beverages. But more than just an event to grab some freebies, it was also a time for the Toronto basketball and sneaker community to come together and connect for an exciting event that continues to cement the 6ix as a top destination city in North America. Jordan Brand sponsored athlete Tyler Ennis was on hand for the festivities on Thursday. During the day there were media interviews and the party also included a performance by local rising singer Roy Woods.
Friday, alongside Ennis, a Henry Carr alum and current Los Angeles Lakers point guard, the building hosted the two Jordan Brand sponsored High School teams, the Father Henry Carr Crusaders and the Central Tech Blues. Both are prep schools now, Carr being a part of the Ontario Scholastic Basketball Association (OSBA) and the National Preparatory Association (NPA) respectively. Henry Carr is led by Head Coach Paul Melnik and Central Tech’s leader is Kevin Jeffers.
Already decked out in Jordan Brand gear from the start of their basketball season, both teams had a chance to check out all the clothes and shoes the store has to offer and they also were able to purchase any other items that they wanted to. The teams also got a chance to check out the customization area of the store which is a great touch for those looking to stand out even more from the crowd.
If you’re in the building and need a trim, they’ve even included a barber’s chair for those times you just need to get that fade before or after your workout. It is also rumoured that Centre 23 will also host many elite athletes when they’re in town, which is a great opportunity for them to get high quality workouts done.
Saturday morning will be no doubt be hectic as the store opens just before 6:30 in the morning. The lineup was already about 200 strong at 6:30pm Friday evening, so it will no doubt be double or triple that once the front doors are unlocked and the customers head for the clothing racks, shelves and shoe wall.
For many in the lineup that snakes inside the Atrium shops, they never got to see Michael Jordan play live and have really only been able to see his greatness online on YouTube and the like, but it doesn’t matter because, Jordan Brand has been able to capture the hearts and minds of people of all ages.
The Jordan Brand store will be an immediate success and surely the place to be to pick up all the latest Jordan gear, take part in high-level training and be seen during select functions and launches from time to time to celebrate all things Jordan.
For social media use @jumpman23 and hashtag #reco6nize
Special thanks to Hoop Club TO, Jordan Brand, Nike for their hospitality.
Written by Drew Ebanks
Photos courtesy of Charlie Lindsay