This week’s Mid Week Mugging is certainly a Hot Topic
The long awaited opening of the very popular American retail store is over as Hot Topic opened up at the Georgian Mall this past Friday.
Situated on the first floor just down from Shoppers Drug Mart, the store specializes in what is referred to as counter-culture related merchandise. The walls of Hot Topic are adorned with classic rock bands and rap artists as well as items having to do with the gaming lifestyle, which is ever-increasing in popularity. Stephanie Collins is a store manager in Hamilton but also assists in new store openings and is here in Barrie to help get the new location off the ground. Collins believes this location will be very successful and got that impression before they announced they were coming.
“There was actually a petition to have us come to Barrie,” said Collins. “It’s quite amazing all the feedback we’ve gotten even before we opened. We sell a lot of music-related shirts and Barrie has always been a huge music town with the old Molson Park events area and all the huge concerts that used to go on here and still do.”
While music wear is always on demand at Hot Topic, it is anime season and all the huge conventions are being announced. Comic-Cons are extremely popular and are usually done over a weekend where fans of all types of genres will meet up to see each other’s costumes, outfits and grab merchandise related to a particular fandom. Hot Topic is ready with lots of merchandise related to super heroes, professional wrestling and popular television shows.
“We like to cater to everyone’s inner nerd,” said Collins. “We’ve got our Yuri On Ice products in and those are widely on demand. We carry a lot of Funko Pops and, through our great relationship with Funko, we have even have many items that are only available to us. We are very fortunate to have been good at what we do for the last 29 years to where suppliers trust us enough to want to work so closely.”
Hot Topic began in the US in 1988 and has slowly grown into Canada since with the first store location here seven years ago. With approximately 15 locations in Ontario, the brand will only become more popular as teens and kids voice what they want more through online social interaction.
“It’s almost easier to know what people want nowadays than before,” said Collins. “We are very social media conscience and listen to what our customers want. We actually even take requests so if somebody doesn’t find an item or certain license that they want in the store, they can request it to the team and we’ll send that to headquarters and see what we can do to help.”
Hot Topic has hired 25-30 staff for the new store and knows that they are going to be even more busy with school ending this week and the summer break happening as most kids and teens will be hanging out in malls and even getting summer jobs around Georgian Mall. But Collins reminds people of all ages to know that the store has something for everyone and to just head over and check it out.
“We really talk a lot about the younger generation and what they like to buy and collect, but we honestly have a lot of adults coming in for their needs as well,” said Collins. “With the many classic rock bands and musician’s shirts as well as the fact that nothing is really directed to one age group anymore; people are way more accepting to collecting pop culture items nowadays. We are a very fun store for all ages and look forward to a very busy summer.”