Artwork showing a heist
December 8, 2015

Stealing Attention At Petra Karthaus


You’d think that high-end European fashion retailer Petra Karthaus (PK) would want to catch people’s eyes with their clothes. But it’s the art on the wall that turns heads first.

Paintings about a heist

“The Heist” is the first thing we noticed when walked by, and it compelled us to walk in and ask about it.

“We’re big fans of Tintin,” says Dorothea Merritt, PK’s co-owner (along with her husband, Clarke). “So when we were thinking of something to dress up the front of the store, it’s where we went.”

Mission accomplished — so much so that it caught the eye of Manulife Centre’s property management team who’ve already asked about commissioning more of the same to showcase in other locations.

We’re not opposed to that right now,” says Dorothea. “But we like that it’s unique to us.”

The Heist isn’t all that’s unique to PK. When we eventually got past the painting, we found a store full of European labels no one else in the area carries, like Holland’s Goldbergh luxury sportswear collection for the active woman.

“They’re the new kid on the block in terms of ‘fashion meets function,’ and that’s what drew us to them,” says Dorothea. They’ve only been around since 2009, but they’re already setting standards for sporty style. Our customers love it, and so do we.”

Image of a Goldbergh luxury sportswear

As Dorothea took us farther into the store, we saw some recognizable labels like Bogner (who we knew from their partnership with the German Olympic team), and some we didn’t know before but certainly do now, like France’s J.J. Garella.

Image of a coat

And when we got to the back, we found a lovely lounge area complete with magazines and a big screen TV. We took a seat with Dorothea to talk a bit more about the store and its relatively new home in Manulife Centre.

“It doesn’t feel like a shopping mall here,” she says. “I love that people come here to meet, get their errands done and, of course, do a little shopping.”

And shop they have. Since moving to Manulife Centre in March 2014, after 25 years in Hazleton Lanes, the Merritts have noticed a significant increase in foot traffic to their store, especially from 44 Charles residents, the apartment building connected to Manulife Centre.

As we wrapped up our visit, it hit us that we had been there for almost 20 minutes and not once did Dorothea or Clarke try to sell us anything. They just talked to us about their philosophy of bringing truly unique brands to the city. But we would argue that part of their philosophy is unmatched pleasantness and customer service, because that’s what we got. And we suspect that when you’re ready to add some flare to your closet, you’ll get it too — along with a nice long look at one of Manulife Centre’s best pieces of art.

Petra Karthaus is open seven days a week (Mon-Wed & Sat until 6 pm, Thurs & Fri until 7 pm and Sunday until 5 pm). They also do after-hours appointments, which you can book by calling Dorothea at 416.922.5922.