“We're more than just a shopping experience”
Interview with Neil Fishman, General Manager, Outlet Collection Winnipeg
When it comes to stress-free shopping, one shopping destination has quickly earned an all-star reputation in Winnipeg since opening only two years ago. Outlet Collection Winnipeg, the city’s only outlet shopping destination and first newly constructed shopping centre in 30 years, has quickly become a go-to attraction.
From individual shoppers to large groups, Outlet Collection Winnipeg has made a name for itself with its unique stores, relaxed environment, and enticing perks. To learn more, Meetings Winnipeg sat down with the shopping centre’s general manager, Neil Fishman.
What makes Outlet Collection Winnipeg a destination?
I think the main differentiator is that we offer a shopping experience you won’t get anywhere else. There are more than 20 stores unique to Winnipeg in our shopping centre – Asics, Lacoste, Saks Off Fifth, Polo Ralph Lauren, and Kate Spade just to name a few. You won’t find these stores anywhere else in the city, and they are all here in one central location.
We also stand out in the atmosphere we offer our shoppers – we want customers to feel when they walk in that they’re getting more than just a shopping experience. We’re offering a very fun atmosphere. Shoppers are getting a level of hospitality that I think is unique to Winnipeg. Add to that a new building with lots of open windows and natural light, and you have an appealing destination to visit.
Do you have any special events taking place throughout the year?
We’re always looking at attracting unique activations and creating a fun atmosphere. We work with local vendors to bring a local flavour to Outlet Collection Winnipeg – for example, in the coming weeks well known Winnipeg based Goodies Bake Shop will be opening a pop-up shop at the centre. We bring in pop-ups throughout the year (last winter we even hosted a pop-up escape room with Enigma Escapes), which you wouldn’t normally find in a shopping centre. It’s a good way to make sure our shoppers always have something new to experience.
Are there any special programs for shoppers that you offer?
I’d say our VIP program is something everyone from outside Winnipeg should sign up for. It’s designed for people who live over 60km from Winnipeg, giving them access to discounts with participating retailers. Participating stores set their own savings percentages, and right now we have 36 different stores participating – and we will be expanding the program over time.
To sign up for the VIP program, shoppers just have to go to Guest Services, show ID showing they’re from out of town, and enjoy same-day activation and access to savings. If there’s a meeting or convention coming up, event planners can set up the VIP program in advance for their delegates.
We also have a bus welcome program for larger groups, which works well for M&C or spousal programs. When we arrange a shopping day, we will meet the bus outside, give participants welcome packages, and give a small incentive to the bus driver and organizer as a way of thanking them. It was a successful program in 2018, and we’re looking to expand that going forward.
Another great incentive, that anyone can take advantage of, is our Gift with a Purchase program. If you spend $750 or more, we will give you a gift box of Canadian-sourced products, at no additional cost.
What else can delegates do in and around Outlet Collection Winnipeg?
This area’s growing quite significantly, especially with the Seasons of Tuxedo shopping area growing around us. The Cineplex Rec Room is scheduled to open up just across the street later this year, while the area’s second hotel will be opening soon nearby. Our parking lot is seeing many new businesses open up, including a few sit-down restaurants. All of this in an area that’s only 15 minutes from both airport and downtown, and on a major thoroughfare – a convenient and accessible location.
Any future plans you can share with us?
We are adding more stores this year, including another 3-4 in April that we will be announcing with greater detail soon. And of course, we will be incorporating more local business into the shopping centre alongside our exclusive offerings. For example, Za Pizza Bistro is opening soon in our food court – and it will be licensed, which will be a first for us.
If you’re looking to incorporate Outlet Collection Winnipeg into your next M&C itinerary, reach out to Outlet Collection Winnipeg to explore discount opportunities for your delegates.
*This interview has been edited for clarity and formatting purposes.