News & Media

National Retail Innovation Awards 2019

Date Published: November 1, 2019

On Nov. 1, Saint Mary’s University and the David Sobey Centre hosted the National Retail Innovation Awards at the Halifax Marriott Harbourfront hotel. The annual awards recognize young retail and support companies that offer innovative contributions to the Canadian retail sector. This year’s winners were Poppy Barley, Six Hundred Four, and Dash Hudson.

James Lepp, the owner of the Vancouver-based shoe retailer Six Hundred Four, received an Instagram message inviting him to receive the award in Halifax. The award, which is for innovative customer experience, is the company’s first-ever. Lepp and his wife excitedly packed their bags and headed to Halifax.

“It’s nice that someone of importance [...] is recognizing what we’re doing,” he says.

“Retail is extremely exciting today,” says Dr. Ramesh Venkat, director of the David Sobey Centre. “We see companies focusing on customer experience and data-driven decisions, so it’s a very vibrant environment where innovation is not optional. The companies that take the road less travelled seem to be the ones that are making their mark.”

Each winner this year is making a mark in their own way. Poppy Barley won the Award for Sustainable Retailing Innovation for its socially and environmentally conscious approach to luxury fashion. Shoe retailer Six Hundred Four won the Award for Retail Customer Experience for its unique sneaker gallery, as well as its virtual reality shopping experience. Lastly, Halifax’s own Dash Hudson won the Award for Technology Innovation for its AI-driven platform that helps companies with their visual assets to increase customer engagement.

“As a company that is based in Halifax […] who primarily does business in the United States, it’s great to be recognized by a Canadian institution, and a Halifax institution, like Saint Mary’s for the work that we’re doing,” says Thomas Rankin, CEO and co-founder of Dash Hudson.

Dr. David Sobey, Chairman Emeritus Empire Company Limited, praised the winners and their contributions. “The opportunity to honour innovators in the retail industry has been a great benefit to the Sobey School of Business and Saint Mary’s University, as well as to the students. This event gives us all a great opportunity to dialogue with leaders of industry, and in particular, the retail industry,” he says.

The David Sobey Centre was launched in 2015 with the support of Dr. David Sobey. The centre focuses on three main areas: research, innovation and education. The centre is a leading source of retail expertise and helps to prepare the next generation of industry leaders.

Industry leaders, like Poppy Barley, Six Hundred Four, and Dash Hudson, that will go on to further innovate and disrupt the retail sector.

Return to News Bulletin Listing

Share: Page Feedback