Bikes and beer? Retailers go hybrid to maximize space, sales

Commercial tenants combine retail with entertainment experience to thwart online competition
April 28, 2014 02:40PM

In tough retail times, when neighborhood institutions like the Rizzoli Bookstore and J&R Music and Computer World have shuttered, commercial tenants are increasingly turning to hybrid models to keep the cash flowing.

New York City shops turning to this strategy include the Dressing Room at 75a Orchard Street, which peddles both vintage clothing and cocktails, and Wash House at 44 East 1st Street on the Lower Each Side, a seller of  coffee, food and laundry services. In Brooklyn, Red Lantern at 345 Myrtle Avenue offers up bike repairs — beer and coffee.

“When I started out, a guy told me every square inch of your place should make money,” Brian Gluck, Red Lantern’s owner, told the New York Daily News.

Spreading out the sources of cash flow takes some of the pressure off the straight retail sections of a store, hybrid business owners told the Daily News — a must in an age where they are increasingly competing with online shops.

“All brick-and-mortar retailers are going to have to create some kind of entertainment experience so consumers stop shopping on the Internet and go to the store,” Robin Lewis, CEO of retail newsletter the Robin Report, told the paper.

These hybrid businesses draw customers curious about the novelty. For owners, though, the challenge of running several different types of enterprises under one roof can be daunting.

“They all require very separate attention,” Gluck told the paper. [NYDN] Julie Strickland