Courtesy Homes by Avi

Charron Ungar, CEO of Homes by Avi, says the company’s new Home Store in Chinook Centre was created as a unique approach to counteract changing market conditions.

“At the end of 2015, the market started to decline dramatically, and we saw a significant drop in traffic through our showhomes,” he said, adding there are 40 to 50 of these showhomes throughout Calgary.

Ungar started to brainstorm a list of places where Calgarians congregate and where Homes by Avi could centralize not their showhomes – a strategy tried by other builders elsewhere – but their sales representatives. After considering locales such as the Calgary International Airport and the Calgary Zoo, Ungar settled upon a decidedly novel approach for a homebuilder: bring the showhome presence into a retail mall.

“I’ve never seen this done before, but I put two and two together and it made sense to me.”- Charron Ungar, Homes by Avi CEO

“I’ve never seen this done before, but I put two and two together and it made sense to me,” said Ungar, adding the company settled on Cadillac Fairview’s Chinook Centre because of its ability to draw traffic from across Calgary and beyond. Roughly 17 million people visit Chinook Centre every year, and one of the largest demographics among mall visitors is potential homebuyers.

“We put together an idea for what we call a Home Store, without the direct purpose to buy a house,” said Ungar. “We want to create an environment within that retail sphere to give people more information about what Homes by Avi does and create opportunities for meeting in our showhomes throughout the city.”

Since the Home Store’s opening in early August, Ungar says the experiment has proven to be successful. “It’s pushing those ideas out there we’ve wanted,” he said. “It’s had a positive impact in regard to the traffic we’re seeing in our showhomes, which was our goal.”