#ChatGTA — The Great Canadian Sox Shop

Alex Quigley
5 min readApr 11, 2024

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Storefront on a medium wide shot, with the store name ‘The Great Canaidan Sox Shop’. The store is open with the lights on and colourful displays seen through the window. A sign reading ‘SALE’ is placed just in front of the door.
Alt Text: Storefront on a medium wide shot, with the store name ‘The Great Canaidan Sox Shop’. The store is open with the lights on and colourful displays seen through the window. A sign reading ‘SALE’ is placed just in front of the door.

Whenever I find myself in a place I don’t know very well I keep my ear to the ground for anything that piques my curiosities, and Toronto has so much to offer. My first couple of months were spent overwhelmed by downtown and it’s districts, all the diverse cuisine, the industrious hustle and bustle and dispensaries on seemingly every street corner. It’s a lot take in when you’re fresh off the boat, post pandemic.

So imagine my surprise when, on the corner of Queen and Beverley, in the most competitive part of downtown, I find a shop dedicated to selling nothing but socks. The Great Canadian Sox Shop, for some reason, just makes sense to me. Especially having now seen my first Canadian winter.

But how does a store that deals in nothing but socks pay downtown rent rates in this climate? Everybody needs socks but why shop here and not Walmart or Amazon? Clearly, I need to find out more so I decided to sit down with Store Manager Natalina to have a chat about her business.

Alt Text: Man in ornage jacket and woman in black t-shirt stand behind a countertop, the man (Left) is holding sock designs and the woman holding a microphone. Caption: Natalina (Right) showing me (Left) the newest latest additions to the collection. First one is a cowboy design “Less Honkin, More Tonkin” the other a design of Cows and UFOs

I asked Natalina about what brings people to the store and how they maintain a relationship with their clients

“Being on Queens St, get a lot of tourists. I’ve had a lot of people come in and tell me that when they walk around it’s almost like an art gallery which really gives me a sense of pride because they get to have a look at all the fun designs. It’s kind of like a rolling (art) gallery when you have to check with the brands what’s getting discontinued, what new styles are coming soon and it actually works in a very similar way and I think that’s a very cool factor.”

Alt Text: Left, the top of a shelf holding socks with the words ‘Good Luck Sock’. Right: A display of colourful sock designs against a white wall.

“We have the brands that we constantly carry. We also have our house brand, JB Field’s. It’s made in Toronto, it’s mostly wool. They’re cold-rated socks for Canadian winters, and that’s one of the things that people also come in for because if they’re familiar with the brand they know where to get it to support us directly and it’s a great little community.”

The general atmosphere of the Sox Shop is so much more chilled out than your typical clothing store. They were very accommodating to my recording of them. There are friendly faces chatting with each other from both sides of the counter and you get the sense this is a business with quite a loyal cult following. In my short hour there I observed a number of customers who know Natalina by name and she’s able to make recommendations based off of their previous purchases.

Of their in-house JB Field’s brand, the store also runs a ‘Sock of the Week’ promotion. When there are no other promotions running, a couple of designs are chosen at random and as much as 50% is taken off the price. This not only makes the store friendly to those who come through it’s door, but friendly to your bank account also. This is just another example of the care and consideration that goes into a smaller business like this.

“It gives people a chance to try out our brand, see if they like it, see if they want to come back and really helps build that ‘cult’ following. I either see a design that I like, order it, and hope others will too. Or I might see a design that I personally don’t really like that much but I know others will, or it’s a design of a certain profession, or community or fandom.”— Natalina

A man (Author of the article) notices a pair of Spice Girls branded socks on a display and considers purchasing them.
Alt Text: A man considering a pair of Spice Girls branded socks on a display next to a little mermaid design. Caption: Looking to ‘spice’ up your footwear?

Fortunately, we’re heading into spring now so the need for warm socks may not be at the top of your priority list. But don’t let that discourage you because they’re full of amazing designs. I ended up purchasing the Cows & UFOs design. (sorry spice girls fans)

A man wearing a pair of yellow New Balance trainers with his pants rolled up to show off his socks. The socks have a design of Cows and UFOs on a green background.
Alt Text: Someone wearing a pair of yellow New Balance trainers with their pants rolled up to show off their socks. The socks have a design of Cows and UFOs on a green background.

Should you want to visit The Great Canadian Sox Shop, they can be found at 286 Queen St West, Toronto ON. They also have two other locations, one in East Toronto and the other in East York.

Alternatively you can order online at https://greatsox.com

Want to see this story in a video format? Click the link below to see a video I did on The Great Canadian Sox Shop on YouTube last year.

A Brief History of Great Sox

A man wearing a pair of yellow New Balance trainers with his pants rolled up to show off his socks. The socks have a design of Cows and UFOs on a green background.
An infographic covering the history of JB Fields and the Great Canadian Sox Company. It takes the form of a timeline running from 1877 to 2015. Image from the GreatSox.com website.

The great Canadian Sox Company has humble beginnings as a family business opening in 1934. In 1988 they were purchased by brothers Sunil and Bipin Khakassia and incorporated in the J.B Field’s brand as a way of selling the brand in-house. In 2008 Sunil’s son, Sid joined the business full time and started The Great Canadian Sox Shop as an e-commerce store on Amazon and launched the website GreatSox.com. In 2015 Sid’s sister Priyanka joined and oversaw the opening of the first physical store in Danforth, another store in Cambridge, and the store I visited in downtown Toronto.

A high-angle portrait photograph of two men in plan clothing and one woman in a yellow cardigan. The man on the right in his late 30s, the man in the centre in his mid 50s and the woman on the right roughly 30. They are standing in a textiles factory floor.
A high-angle portrait photograph of two men in plan clothing and one woman in a yellow cardigan. The man on the right in his late 30s, the man in the centre in his mid 50s and the woman on the right roughly 30. They are standing in a textiles factory floor. The Khakissia Family, owners of The Great Canadian Sox Company. Son, Sid Khakissia (left), Father Sunil (Center) and Daughter Priyanka (Left)

Thank you for taking some time out of your day to read my article. There are hundreds of thousands on medium and you finished mine, thank you.

If you like what you’ve seen visit my website for links to the rest of my content and more articles like this one.

Cheers, Alex xx

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