NYC Best Bets: Top New Stores
From national chains to online startups to imports, the past year saw an influx of new players into New York City. Here’s my annual list of faves:
The Silicon Valley online start-up (maker of what it calls “the world’s most comfortable shoes”) hits the ground running with its second brick-and-mortar location. The store’s minimalist design and wooly accents reflects the limited offering and look of the shoes (two sneaker styles only, both made of Merino wool). For fun, there is a life-size hamster wheel where shoppers can test run the shoes.
(68 Prince Street)
American Eagle Outfitters transformed its store in Manhattan’s Union Square area into a customer-focused, experiential concept called AE Studio. The focal point of the 15,892-sq.-ft. store is a “jeans gallery,” complete with a “Maker’s Shop” that offers options for customers to personalize their jeans.
In an unusual twist, AE Studio features a wall of washers and dryers where students (the store is close to NYU) can do their laundry for free. While they wait, they can hang out with friends or study in the studio bar and seating area, with free WiFi and refreshments.
(19 Union Square)
The Italian luxury jeweler’s redone — and opulent — Fifth Ave. flagship is a sight to see. Starting with the stunning facade, whose mesh design features a “rosetta” motif taken from the clasp of Bulgari’s iconic bracelet, the store is awash in gold and marble. It’s stunning.
(730 Fifth Ave.)
The online custom menswear brand continues its offline expansion with a 2,800-sq.-ft. location in the Financial District. The handsome, stylish space is designed to bring the brand’s online experience to life. Customers are paired with a “style guide” who helps the customer build a one-of-a-kind suit or shirt. Each garment is made to order and delivered in around four weeks.
(25 Broad St.)
Korean skincare and beauty products are all the rage and the eco-friendly Innisfree brand, which uses naturally-derived ingredients and has a growing following. Its first U.S. store has two levels, with the main store floor set off with a 21-ft.-tall green wall. Make-up classes and skincare instructions are offered on the mezzanine level.
The Japanese retailer’s Brooklyn outpost will serve as a model for U.S. expansion. Known for its minimalist style and low prices, Muji sells everything from apparel to housewares. Special services include an embroidery station with 300 designs to choose from, and a free stamp station where customers can customize paper goods.
(200 Wythe Ave., Brooklyn)
The retailer’s new store concept, located in a landmark Beux-Arts styled building, emphasizes design services and exclusive products. It’s the first Pottery Barn to feature the retailer’s new initiative, “The Package Deal – Home in a Box,” a curated menu of furniture pieces intended to serve as a base for a well-designed bedroom or living room (packages start at $1,000). Suggested package vignettes are displayed on the floor.
(12 West 20th Street)
The sustainable apparel brand’s third New York location is minimalist chic and tech-heavy. Only one of each style is displayed on the selling floor. Shoppers use touch-screen monitors to order items in their sizes and have them sent to the plush fitting rooms. They can also order additional sizes or styles from touchscreens in the rooms. The rooms are outfitted with customizable lighting and headphone jacks so shoppers can plug in their own music.
(39 Bond St.)
Check out Target’s latest iteration of its small-format concept, which is located in Macy’s backyard. The 43,000-sq.-ft. store offers a number of services, including same-day delivery and pick-up for online orders. The beauty department has a specialty-store feel with lower fixtures and an open floor plan. With a product assortment targeted to both tourists and locals, the store has an urban feel.
(112 W. 34th St.)
The cult-fave skate and streetwear brand’s newest location includes a giant, raised wooden skate bowl that takes up the back half of the space. The store has a gritty, urban vibe. A huge flat-screen monitor in the glass storefront plays Supreme’s signature loop of skate videos.
(152 Grand Street, Brooklyn)
The top online luxury consignment retailer makes the jump to brick-and-mortar with a store that brings its online experience to life and allows for more personal interactions. The RealReal’s first-ever permanent store sells luxury items, from men’s and women’s fashions and accessories to fine jewelry, home decor and art, with merchandise refreshed on a daily basis. It also offers jewelry appraisals and classes on brand history and authentication. Gemologists and authentication specialists are on hand to engage directly with shoppers and consignors (sellers).
The two-level space also features a library, lounge area, and a wall refreshed daily with rare sneakers (all pre-worn but in primo condition.)
(80 Wooster St.)
Starbucks opens new location in Puerto Rico
Starbucks has reaffirmed its long-term commitment to the economic recovery of Puerto Rico.
Starbucks Puerto Rico is celebrating the opening of its 25th location on the Island, with a store in the Metropolitan University campus in Cupey, which is part of the Ana G. Méndez University System. It is the first Starbucks to open since Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico in September.
“Our new store in San Juan, our 25th on the Island, is in honor of our Puerto Rican partners and customers, who continue to demonstrate incredible strength and resilience day after day since Hurricane Maria,” said Michael Conway, executive VP for Starbucks Licensed Stores business across the Americas. “As we open our doors at UMET, and slowly begin to reopen all other stores across the island, we remain fully committed to our growth plans in the market as we work to create local jobs, serve our customers, and support the region’s coffee producers.”
Starbucks and the company’s local business partner, Baristas del Caribe, also reaffirmed their commitment to continue working together to support the Island’s economic recovery. The two companies and their foundations have also collectively contributed more than $1.3 million toward emergency relief and long-term rebuilding efforts across the region.
This includes the creation of the Tacita Verde Fund to provide emergency financial grants to local Starbucks partners (employees) and their families in need, as well as a Starbucks Foundation grant to match U.S. customer donations via the Starbucks mobile app and funding to World Coffee Research to begin the long-term work of supporting coffee farmers impacted by the hurricane.
Holiday magic at Lord & Taylor, New York City
For its 80th annual holiday window display, Lord & Taylor transformed the Fifth Avenue windows of its Manhattan flagship into a whimsical journey—seen through the lens of enchanted snow globes.
More than 60 variations are featured throughout the display. Each of the five animated windows boasts a unique scene, ranging from a starry holiday scene set against NYC skyscrapers to a vintage-style circus to an arctic wonderland starring two friendly polar bears.
Lord & Taylor, which never includes commercial products in its animated displays on Fifth Avenue, introduced its first-ever animated holiday windows in 1937.