New Balance opened its first “Experience Store” concept shop, a 4,000-sq.-ft. space located at 150 Fifth Ave. in the Flatiron District, on Thursday.
Prospective shoppers starting lining up at 1 a.m., many clutching New Balance ads promising gift cards for the first 200 customers.
Designed to showcase Boston-based New Balance’s 106-year history, the store features historical photos and artifacts of its past. The store, which carries New Balance footwear and apparel, makes the brand’s running heritage its centerpiece, with a two-lane track for runners to test out shoes, as well as an inset treadmill for gait analysis.
“If we can leverage store experiences like this, there’s no doubt in my mind that we can be the No. 1 running company in the world,” President and CEO Rob DeMartini told the crowd at a pre-opening party on Wednesday night.
New Balance is also making its manufacturing pedigree a key component of the store. A demonstration area at the front of the store will feature trained associates assembling the brand’s 880 running shoe model to order for customers. And shoes made in the store will be sold with an “Assembled in NYC” label.