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Remember Biway? It’s Coming Back

Despite shuttering in 2001, the beloved Canadian retail chain will open a 7,500 square-foot store in August 2019.

When I think of Biway, what I remember most is the smell. A cloying, plasticky scent that wafted through rows of scratchy flannel shirts and starch-stiff jeans and reached the height of its powers in the shoe section, where plastic bags of flip-flops mingled with skateboard shoes visibly held together with syrupy epoxy glue. In my hometown of Belleville, Ont., the only Biway shuttered in the mid-90s and my memories are growing hazy. But if your nostalgia for the Canadian discount store runs deep, it’s time to rejoice because Biway is back.

Yes, you read that correctly. In August 2019, Biway will officially be resurrected in the form of the “Biway $10 Store” which will open first in Toronto at a 7,500 square foot location at Bathurst and Steeles. Like the name suggests, everything in the store will be sold for $10. Mal Coven, the co-chief executive officer of the original Biway, who is spearheading the relaunch, told WWD that the new store will be “cherry picking brands consumers would recognize at The Bay or in other specialty stores and putting them into this $10 price line.” Though Coven declined to name any specific brands, the store will carry clothing for men, women and children, as well as shoes, beauty products and housewares.

Though Coven initially parted ways with Biway in 1990,  he claims the business sold $500 million dollars per year in volume during his tenure. Biway shuttered in 2001, but Coven believe the chain could do $3 million in sales in its first year if shoppers’ average purchases reach $30 to $40 per visit.

Whether it’s the nostalgia factor or the affordable pricing, Biway’s return is certainly an intriguing development in the Canadian retail market. However it turns out, we’ll certainly be watching.