From New Zealand to British Columbia: Icebreaker Opens Vancouver Store

Icebreaker, the New Zealand company that pioneered the merino wool adventure apparel category, today announced that 23 March 2011 will be the grand opening for its first Icebreaker TouchLab store in Western Canada.
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

CONTACT
Lee Weinstein
Icebreaker
(503) 708-0402
lee.weinstein@icebreaker.com

From New Zealand to British Columbia:
Icebreaker Invites Vancouverites to Experience the Touch of Merino and the Sights of New Zealand at New Retail Store in Kitsilano Neighborhood

- Icebreaker Touch Lab offers Vancouver residents the complete line of pure merino wool adventure apparel –

Vancouver, Canada (22 March 2011) – Icebreaker, the New Zealand company that pioneered the merino wool adventure apparel category, today announced that 23 March 2011 will be the grand opening for its first Icebreaker TouchLab store in Western Canada.

The 1,800-square-foot store will be located in Vancouver, British Columbia, in the Kitsilano neighborhood at 2089 West 4th Avenue, near the corner of Arbutus. Icebreaker has one other TouchLab store in Canada at 1515 rue Ste-Catherine Ouest in Montréal, Quebec.

New Zealand is over 12,000 kilometers from Vancouver, so the Icebreaker team has brought the Southern Alps and the merino sheep to Western Canada through fantastic imagery in the store. Customers can see beautiful images of New Zealand, and through the company's Baacode traceability program, meet the farmers tended the flocks that grew the fibre in the apparel.

Since many Vancouverites haven't experienced the wonders of silky soft merino wool, the TouchLab will feature an area where shoppers can dip their hands into raw merino. The store also shows the Kiwi brand's sense of humor, with many secret touches, such as some racy activities hidden in the themed dressing rooms where you can “Get It On.”

Natural, sustainably produced Icebreaker merino regulates body temperature in all climates, is highly breathable to prevent the clamminess associated with synthetics, and protects the wearer from the sun's harmful rays. It's also “no stink” – resisting odour and wearable for days (sometimes weeks) – without washing.

The new TouchLab retail store will showcase the complete Icebreaker line from its new spring/summer 2011 Outdoor, Running, Cycling, Travel, Kids, Underwear and City collections, all made from handpicked merino wool born in New Zealand's Southern Alps.

“More and more Vancouverites will soon discover Icebreaker's miracle fibre from New Zealand,” said Jeremy Moon, Icebreaker's founder and CEO. “We think it will be love at first touch.”

The Kitsilano neighborhood is home to a high concentration of healthy, fit shoppers that match Icebreaker's target demographic. These shoppers are known for being early adopters and setting trends. Icebreaker was also attracted to the neighborhood by the concentration of other lifestyle retailers with stores in the area, including The North Face, Roots and Lululemon. Several Vancouver area specialty retailers, including Eco Outdoor Sports, Skiis and Biikes, Sigge's Sports Villa, Strub Sports, Atmosphere Sports, On the Rivet, Europe Bound and Australian Boot Company, currently sell Icebreaker. Icebreaker expects the move to improve overall brand awareness for them as well.

Icebreaker Design is working with local architects from Vancouver Nick Sully from SHAPE Architecture, for the Kitsilano TouchLab. The store will be the company's seventh TouchLab in the world. In North America, in addition to the TouchLab store in Montréal, Quebec, the company has a store in Portland, Oregon. It opened its first flagship TouchLab store in New York City on 1 December 2010.

Icebreaker Clothing

Launched in 1994, Icebreaker was the first company in the world to develop wool adventure apparel, a merino fibre layering system for the outdoors, starting with its Bodyfit baselayer, ideal for Vancouver weather. There are now 25 to 30 distinct pure merino fabrics in the Icebreaker system, covering underwear, mid layer, and outerwear.

This fall, Icebreaker introduced Realfleece, a premium natural alternative to a synthetic fleece (made from oil) for men and women. Unlike synthetics, Icebreaker Realfleece is stylish and sophisticated and can be worn on the mountain as well as on the town.

Icebreaker is sold in more than 2,000 stores in 37 countries throughout Europe, Asia, Australasia and North America. Based in Wellington, New Zealand, Icebreaker uses only pure merino hand-picked from 140 high country stations in the country's Southern Alps to create edgy outdoor clothing that combines nature's work with human technology and design.

Ethical Commitment

The company was the first outdoor adventure apparel company in the world to source merino directly from growers, a system it began in 1997. Icebreaker is committed to sustainability, ethical manufacturing and animal welfare. In 2008, the company launched “Icebreaker Baacode,” a pioneering supply chain transparency and traceability program. Each Icebreaker includes a unique Baacode, which enables customers to trace the garment online from rearing the sheep through to each stage of the supply chain process.

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