Top 10 New NYC Stores
New York City has seen an influx of new retail this past year. Everyone has their favorites. Here are mine:
• Alexander McQueen: The British fashion brand’s new Upper East Side flagship boasts a lavish design that is both strange and utterly romantic, with an attention to detail that mirrors McQueen’s signature stylings. Marble and ornate moldings, black marble floors, black lacquer and brass hanging racks are combined with a soft color palette. (747 Madison Ave.)
• Balenciaga: With fashion boy wonder Alexander Wang at the helm, Balenciaga has opened a vast and glamorous flagship in SoHo. The ultra-luxe, ultra-modern three-story space is awash in deep-green marble — on the floors, the walls and the fixtures. (148 Mercer St.)
• 7-Eleven: The nation’s largest convenience store chain goes high-tech with touchscreen ordering, free Wi-Fi and a huge flatscreen TV. Designed by WD Partners, the Wall Street-area store has a clean modern look, with granite flooring, white tiled walls, rustic wood crates and fun signage — and a brand new logo. (111 John St.)
• H&M: It’s hard to miss H&M’s just-opened flagship in Times Square — just look for the giant LED screens on its façade. The 42,000-sq.-ft. store has a futuristic, tech-inspired look, with a “social media lounge,” interactive mannequins that play videos or flash photos, and a geometric metal decor. (4 Times Square)
• Patagonia Bowery: The longtime environmental champion’s first surf outpost on the East Coast is located in the gallery annex space of the former CBGB OMFUG, the legendary music venue of the punk era. That’s reason enough to check it out. (313 Bowery)
• Rent the Runway: The popular designer dresses and accessories rental website has opened a retail showroom in the Henri Bendel flagship. The space is appropriately feminine and glamorous, with an upbeat pink and purple color palette. Outside the fitting rooms is a plush lounge area where customers can peruse baubles — and even have a glass of Champagne. (712 Fifth Ave., second floor, Henri Bendel)
• Shinola: The made-in-Detroit brand that makes watches, leather goods and bicycles has opened in a David Rockwell Group-designed space that references the nation’s manufacturing legacy. Simple materials, such as bronze, brass and oak, create an industrial feel, while custom-made furniture complements the handcrafted quality of Shinola’s products. (177 Franklin St.)
• Sleep Studio: A 3,700-sq.-ft. store devoted to rest, Sleep Studio has a soothing, dreamy ambience. A wide range of slumber-related products are featured, but the big attraction is a proprietary sleep system that fans swear by. (73 Wooster St.)
• Teavana Fine Teas & Tea Bar: This new store concept from Starbucks Corp. features a wide range of teas, tea fusion beverages, tea-related merchandise, sweets and some food items. Accented with light woods, comfy seating and low lighting, the space has a warm, inviting feel. (1142 Madison Ave.)
• Wolverine: Wolverine’s first permanent store reflects the heritage of the 130-year-old footwear brand. The store features wooden beams — part of the company’s original tannery — and a wall of vintage shoe lasts. Other design elements, including a 1,000-lb.-plus concrete sign from one of the company’s original factory buildings, also help bring Wolverine’s long history to life. (254 Elizabeth St.)
Those are my faves. Let me know yours!
Jean Coutu Group blurs line between retail box and online retailing
Canada’s Jean Coutu Group is helping to bolster holiday sales with the launch of its "e-store window" inside the Longueuil Metro Station. Commuters will be able to shop a wall of deals using their smartphones with delivery before Dec. 24.
It’s not really an example of thinking outside the box, as much as it’s eliminating the concept of a box altogether. It’s an extension of the Jean Coutu brand name into a space typically associated with billboard-style advertising, only stoppers-by can shop the space as easily as they do in the store or online.
It’s reminiscent of Peapod Markets, partnered with Ahold USA supermarket banners, the grocery retailer donning the walls of key public transit hubs across Chicago, New York, Philadelphia and Washington and generally statewide in Connecticut and Rhode Island. That service routinely delivers packages to more than 350,000 customers per year with an average basket size of $157 and "trips," or shopping occasions, typically happening twice per month per regular shopper.
Giant Food Stores of Carlisle, Pa., just last week launched its pickup service at five stores in Pennsylvania’s Montgomery and Bucks counties.
But they’re not the only companies who recently have extended their brand names beyond the traditional retail box.
L’Oréal Paris placed an "intelligent vending experience" within the Bryant Park subway station earlier in November. The smart kiosk first detects the colors in a woman’s outfit and picks out the most prominent and related color palettes, then recommends L’Oréal Paris products to match and allows women to purchase those products on the spot, quickly and easily. The pop-up kiosk will be available through Dec. 30.
A few suppliers are even extending their brand names into complementary retail channels with pop-up shop locations. For example, Red Carpet Manicure, which makes an at-home LED gel manicure system, has set up a Holiday Pop-Up Shop at the trend-setting emporium of fashion, accessory and beauty brands, otherwise known as Henri Bendel’s flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York City.
Retail Universal Waste Compliance Doesn’t Need to Be Difficult
By Scott Thibodeau, [email protected]
The Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) and compliance with it, remains a regulatory challenge for the retail industry. Many retailers are forced to become experts in waste characterization to ensure compliance with environmental regulations, something that has become difficult for resource strapped retailers. While RCRA was originally developed to prevent the improper disposal of hazardous waste, the regulations were typically suited for industrial, manufacturing and chemical-related industries.
Thankfully, managing certain hazardous wastes generated by retailers doesn’t need to be difficult. The Environmental Protection Agency established the Universal Waste Rule in 1995. EPA’s universal waste regulations streamline hazardous waste management standards for federally designated "universal wastes," which include batteries, mercury-containing equipment and fluorescent lamps.
Millions of fluorescent lamps are sold in the United States each year and most are improperly discarded. According to the Association of Lamp and Mercury Recyclers (ALMR), up to 70% of all lamps disposed in the United States are not recycled. This poses a risk to both the environment and retailers that are not properly recycling their mercury-containing fluorescent lamps. From an environmental perspective, although the amount of mercury in a single fluorescent lamp is small (ranging less than 2 milligrams to 15 milligrams for common fluorescent lamps), collectively the large numbers of fluorescent lamps can contribute significantly to the amount of mercury that is released into the environment if fluorescent lamps are not recycled. When mercury is released to the environment, it can contaminate waterways where it ends up in fish that are then consumed by humans and other animals.
The universal waste regulations govern the collection and management of these widely generated wastes and eases the regulatory burden on retail stores, thus facilitating environmentally sound collection and proper recycling or treatment.
Many of today’s retailers have or are currently retrofitting or re-lamping their stores to more energy efficient lighting systems such as T8 and T5 linear fluorescents, light emitting diode (LED) as well as installing battery operated point of purchase displays. Still, others are implementing collection and return programs for compact fluorescents and batteries brought back to their stores by their customers. At the end of these projects, many retailers are left with hazardous mercury containing fluorescent lamps, PCB or non-PCB lamp ballast and mixed batteries that may contain corrosive materials such potassium hydroxide (lye) or sulfuric acid; or reactive metals such as lithium; or toxic metals such as mercury, lead, cadmium and nickel.
In addition to the waste, retailers are strapped to the logistical nightmare of having the waste picked up in a timely manner and managed in accordance with disposal regulations to ensure environmental compliance.
While most retailers excel at reverse logistics to consolidate goods and minimize transportation costs, this is best used and designed to consolidate products intended for resale, vendor returns or charitable donations. The current regulatory framework does not allow for retailers to utilize reverse logistics to consolidate waste in many cases, leaving a need for a regional environmental service provider to service local stores.
While small single store retailers can benefit from working with a local environmental service provider, multi-store retailers can find it challenging to work with multiple regional environmental services providers, specifically as it relates to program consistency between stores, compliant labeling and packaging, on-time service, pricing and down-stream auditing of processing facilities. Having a single point of access for regulatory compliance documentation and reporting is also virtually impossible when working with multiple environmental service providers.
For retailers, the solution really comes down to addressing a few high level items. First make the recycling program easy and reproducible. Whether the retailer has one location or hundreds across the country, the program has to work the same way from facility to facility and be easily implementable. Training is required and needs to be easily accessible as employees turnover and are required to manage the process.
Second, the recycling program needs to be consistent whether the retailer is managing one location or multiple locations. It is imperative that the process is the same, the packaging is the same, the labeling is the same and the retailer has a single point of contact for questions or concerns.
Third, the recycling program has to be cost-effective. While the cost of compliance cannot be overlooked, given the recent multi-million dollar fines imposed on some retailers, the programs offered by environmental service providers need to be flexible and based on retailer need instead of fitting a retailer into a “one size fits all” service offering.
Fourth, the recycling program has to be managed by a reputable environmental service provider with adequate financial stability, insurance and indemnification programs that protect retailer’s long-term liability.
Last, the recycling program needs to be documentable. Retailers love sustainability and telling the story. Managers should have access to environmental reporting and documentation at their fingertips with a few clicks of a mouse.
While the industry is constantly evolving and making strides toward reducing the amount of hazardous materials like mercury in fluorescent lamps, retailers should weigh their options closely to choose a recycling program that reduces environmental liability, limits costs and minimizes complexities.
Scott Thibodeau, business development manager, electronics recycling, Veolia ES Technical Solutions, is a division of Veolia Environmental Services North America Corp., whose service offering includes turn-key industrial cleaning and maintenance services, and the treatment, recycling and disposal of hazardous and regulated wastes in North America. He can be reached at [email protected].