The Real Deal New York

These 6 e-tailers are going brick-and-mortar in NYC

Online companies supplementing business with physical locations

October 24, 2014 08:00AM
By Kerry Barger

The Warby Parker showroom at 1290 Lexington Avenue

The Warby Parker showroom at 1209 Lexington Avenue

Retailers that once solely depended on clicks to drive sales are increasingly building up bricks as a supplement to their online business.

Gap subsidiary Piperlime opened its first storefront at Soho’s 121 Wooster Street in 2012 after launching a successful pop-up shop for Fashion’s Night Out two years earlier. Bonobos Guideshop, an online menswear outlet, has opened 10 outlets since experimenting with fitting rooms in the lobby of its 45 West 25th Street headquarters back in 2011.

Here’s a look at six more e-tailers going brick-and-mortar in New York City.

Amazon

The drone-touting online megastore is preparing to deliver its first retail outlet to Midtown, though the store’s size, lease agreement and inventory remain unknown. The space, which will be located across from the Empire State Building at 7 West 34th Street, will serve as a mini-warehouse for same-day delivery inventory, product returns and exchanges as well as in-store pickup for online orders.

Sources told The Wall Street Journal the storefront could double as a showroom for Amazon-branded products, but also warned that the store could be shuttered if company management deems it a failure.

Trunk Club

Trunk Club aficionados who are too antsy to wait for their hand-picked styles to arrive in the mail can breathe a sigh of relief. The Nordstrom-owned company is opening its first showroom in New York City.

The menswear and styling outfit will take a spot at the Villard Houses at 455 Madison Avenue, between East 50th and East 51st streets. Trunk Club will occupy 26,190 feet at the six-story, Renaissance revival mansion.

Though this is the company’s first foray into New York City, Trunk Club operates locations in Dallas, Los Angeles and its home base of Chicago.

Warby Parker

Warby Parker co-founders David Gilboa and Neil Blumenthal had their sights set on Soho’s 121 Greene Street as their first permanent retail outlet, opening the store in April 2013. Since then, the trendy eyewear purveyor has opened two other locations in New York City. One storefront opened at 819 Washington Street in the Meatpacking District. The store’s most recent location, at 1209 Lexington Avenue on the Upper East Side, opened in April.

An influx of skinny-jean-wearing hipsters sporting thick-framed glasses at the company’s latest outpost could boost Lexington Avenue in the 80s, a neighborhood where retail largely consists of mom-and-pop shops.

Birchbox at 433 West Broadway in Soho

Birchbox at 433 West Broadway in Soho (PHOTO: Birchbox)

Birchbox

The beauty and grooming e-tailer opened its first-ever brick-and-mortar location at 433 West Broadway in Soho.

The store is designed to help consumers interact with its website. Shoppers can build their own “Birchbox” and browse products based on facial features, like cheek, brow or lip.

BaubleBar

Online jewelry retailer BaubleBar opened a small showroom at 230 Fifth Avenue in October 2012.

Although it sells its jewelry in Nordstroms and Anthropologies across the country, the Fifth Avenue location is the e-tailer’s first brick-and-mortar store exclusively branded to BaubleBar. There, shoppers can browse bling-like necklaces, earrings and rings in-person.

The ecommerce site is moving its headquarters to a 52,600 square-foot warehouse space in Sunset Park’s Industry City, but will retain its first location in the Flatiron District.

Rent The Runway

Fashionistas with absolutely nothing to wear can take a trip down to Rent The Runway’s freestanding store in the Flatiron District, which opened its doors to thrifty shoppers in September.

The service, which rents out designer dresses to those on tight budgets, opened its first brick-and-mortar location at 16 West 18th Street. Shoppers use the website to book appointments before visiting the store for a consultation with a style expert.

The company’s flagship store is housed within Henri Bendel’s store at 712 Fifth Avenue.

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