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Small Business Success: mars. clothing

Small Business Success: mars. clothing

mars. clothing keeps its finger on the pulse when it comes to bringing the most wanted trends of the season to modern men and women of Thunder Bay. Owner/operator James Nigro opened mars. clothing in 2011, located on Court Street near the corner of Red River Road. Although the shop started out exclusively retailing men’s clothing, it has grown with the demand and is now equally dedicated to women’s apparel.

mars. clothing

Having spent years working in retail prior to opening the business, James developed a good feel for how to spot trends and know what shoppers are looking for. James tells, “When I was working for national chain stores, I could tell they were disconnected from a lot of their customers. I saw people looking for a certain kind of clothing that wasn’t being offered and I started the business because I wanted to fill that gap in the market.”

The staff at mars. clothing build relationships with their frequenters, and open themselves up to their feedback and insight. mars. clothing maintains positive relations with its suppliers as well to stay in-the-know with what’s on the rise in the fashion world.

Brands like Cheap Monday, Naked and Famous, Minimum, and Obey are some of the most common found at mars. clothing. The store carries as many Canadian products as possible, some of which are also organic and environmentally sustainable. Most of its suppliers are Canadian companies with offices, warehouses and headquarters in Canada. Locally made items such as belts by Hide5 Leather, lipstick by HAIL Cosmetics, and t-shirts by Northies are available at mars. clothing.

The store makes a point to carry a wide range of inventory to appeal to different styles, sizes, and budgets. The atmosphere is cool and relaxed, yet sleek-looking with an interior that feels big-city. But what really gives mars. clothing its edge is unmatched product expertise.

“My staff and I know so much about every single item we have for sale – where it comes from, how it’s made, even why we chose to carry it,” continues James. “We have customers of all ages – from teenagers all the way up to people in their seventies, and I like to think it’s because we offer a shopping experience that most chains and online stores can’t compete with.”

James used Entrepreneur Centre services to complete a business plan and access grant funding to help with startup costs and prepare his store space. Both James and mars. clothing have become ingrained to the downtown Waterfront district, having served on the board of the Waterfront BIA and formed partnerships and support systems with neighbouring businesses.

The Thunder Bay Community Economic Development Commission (CEDC) and Thunder Bay and District Entrepreneur Centre offers FREE and confidential services to help small businesses start up, expand, and succeed. Their one-to-one business counselling, comprehensive information, consulting, and referral service make them a great first stop if you are starting a business or even thinking of starting a business. The Entrepreneur Centre (EC) can assist you to write a business plan, secure funding, and access other available resources. Call (807) 625-3960 to book an appointment or visit

Thunder Bay CEDC/Thunder Bay & District Entrepreneur Centre

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