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Canadian athletic apparel retailer opens U.S. flagship

BY Marianne Wilson

RYU Apparel has landed in New York City.

The Vancouver-based brand, which specializes in stylish athletic tech apparel for men and women, has opened a flagship in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, New York, as it continues its expansion into the United States.

RYU – which stands for Respect Your Universe – has five stores throughout Canada, with a sixth to follow before the end of the year. Williamsburg is the brand’s second U.S. location with the first being a store  in Venice, California,  launched in the summer.

The 2,800-sq.-ft. store is located in the newly renovated Lewis Steel heritage building. Design details include uncovered cast-iron fixtures and steel beams, distressed timber and cold rolled steel, evoking the feeling of a vintage training facility. Preserving the original flooring and exposed brick, the space will retain its industrial roots while clean white walls, inspiring graphics and updated design touches reveal a modern balance.

“We are excited to announce this important next step in the growth of RYU as a global brand,” said Marcello Leone, CEO and president of RYU. “Expansion into the New York City area allows us to create connections and build community in one of the most influential athletic and fashion markets in the world.”

Dedicated to offering the athletic apparel market something truly unique, RYU creates technical apparel and accessories that are engineered for both the performance and the lifestyle of a multi-disciplined athlete. Anchored in Respect for one’s choices, individualism and journey, RYU designs innovative, on-trend training apparel that facilitates human performance.

Designed as a hub for the community to come together, RYU Williamsburg will promote wellness and healthy lifestyles through such features as weekly fitness classes taught by local instructors. An exclusive on-site water bar from Trace Beverages offers what RYU described as the “first-of-their-kind plant-based beverages infused with fulvic and humic minerals.”

“It’s important that we connect with our community,” Leone said. “We’re not taking your typical approach of opening up just any store. We believe today, to be successful with any iconic global brand, you must have an authentic, emotional connection to your consumer.”

RYU was founded in 2011 as a mixed martial-arts brand. Under the leadership of Leone, who took the reins of the company in 2014, it has evolved into a producer of technical sportswear engineered for performance, fitness and an athletic lifestyle.

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Specialty food producer is setting up class at Macy’s

BY Marianne Wilson

Macy’s and Stonewall Kitchen are taking their partnership to a new level.

Stonewall Kitchen will make its retail debut on the West Coast, with a new Stonewall Kitchen Cooking School and Café in Macy’s at South Coast Plaza, Costa Mesa, California. The café, opening on November 28, will feature the same classic New England fare that the brand offers at its flagship store in York, Maine. The cooking school will offer a variety of demonstration classes for lunch and dinner with chef instructors similar to those taught at the Maine location.

Stonewall has been working with Macy’s for some time, and its products are now sold in more than 500 Macy’s stores. Stonewall also collaborates with the retailer to create custom gift packaging exclusively for Macy’s.

“The launch of our new Cooking School and Cafe inside their Costa Mesa location represents a logical and exciting evolution of our relationship, as we both look to create interesting and interactive retail experiences for our guests that can’t be found anywhere else,”  said John Stiker, CEO, Stonewall Kitchen, which operates nine company stores throughout New England in addition to a catalog and online division. The company also has more than 6,000 wholesale accounts nationwide and internationally.

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Beauty giant goes high-tech with its first-ever store

BY Marianne Wilson

It took 60 years, but CoverGirl has made its brick-and-mortar debut.

The iconic cosmetics brand opened its first permanent retail store, a sleek, two level flagship in the heart of Manhattan’s Times Square. Designed to serve as the physical embodiment of CoverGirl’s “I Am What I Make Up” philosophy, the 10,000-sq.-ft. space offers shoppers an immersive experience in what is billed as an “experiential beauty playground.”

Minimalist black and white décor with pops of vibrant color are the backdrop to a interior where shoppers are encouraged to try-on and experiment with CoverGirl products. (CoverGirl said it worked with a number of different partners to bring the store to life, from its designer, FRCH Design Worldwide, to its general contractor, Shawmut.)

The space offers a variety of digital experiences, starting with a virtual greeter, “Olivia.” Powered by Dialogflow, Google’s platform for building AI-powered conversations, Olivia can direct shoppers to products, share beauty trend advice and more.

Other high-tech experiences include augmented reality “glam” stations (powered by Holition) where shoppers can virtually try a lipstick and eyeshadow just by picking up their color choice in the tray. They can complete the look with coordinating blushes, mascaras and foundation – and digitally share the virtual makeover with friends.

Customers can physically try on makeup, and receive makeup applications by “CoverGirl BFFs,” who are also on hand to give out out tips, tricks and product recommendations. A customization station allows shoppers to personalize lipsticks and makeup bags.

“The CoverGirl flagship represents this incredible moment in beauty – where rich experiences matter most and where true self-expression and experimentation are the only beauty standards,” said Coty consumer beauty chief marketing officer Ukonwa Ojo.

The store, which is open to midnight seven days a week, is located on 7th Ave., ton the corner of West 49th St.

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