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Just the other day a new “concept” opened to much fanfare at Davie and Howe. As described on their website:

Caya [Come as you are] is a new store with a new perspective. One focused on you. The first of its kind in Canada, and possibly the world, Caya celebrates the individuality in all of us, and supports local LGBTQA initiatives that help others be themselves, fully and openly.

It’s a Telus store for gays.

I’m not sure about this. If it’s goal is to support the LGBTQA – I just checked and the A stands for “allied” – “fully and openly” then why the need for a sub-brand. Why can’t Telus just support the Alphabet Soup community? Do gays really need our own specifically branded Telus store? Is this an attempt at catering to our needs or keeping us at arms length from the corporate brand?

To be fair, it’s a nice ideal. A slightly more upmarket communications store for slightly more upmarket customers that can also act as a community hub for events. Most of the opinions online seem to be taking a “wait and see” approach with this and I thought that was pretty fair.

Until I went to there with my friend Emanuel – another gay – the other day.

I think the branding is relatively good but the product mix is frankly awful and it’s not even immediately clear what products and services they offer. caya’s cell phone offerings are basic Telus offerings just slightly more nicely displayed, which is fair enough, but the accessories just seem like an odd assortment: 8 digital cameras, a few cell phone cases and some random desktop stuff. They do offer digital photo printing but we only discovered this in conversation with a “matchmaker of merchandise” – read: sales associate. I just don’t see this store being particularly successful.

Also, Fag would’ve been a much better name:

“Come as you are” just makes me think of the slightly awful – read: guilty pleasure – Beverley Knight song of the same name.

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