This Cult Boston Sneaker Shop Is Opening Up in Los Angeles

Bodega Boston
Bodega in Boston.
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Well-known boutique retailer Bodega has carved out a loyal following in Boston since it opened a decade ago — and now it’s taking major steps to expand its business. First up is a new Beantown storefront at 184 Massachusetts Ave., around the corner from its longtime home at 6 Clearway St. This spot will offer footwear and apparel in the fashion sportswear space, and will also adopt a fresh name: Series.

“It gives us a little more freedom to do [new things] there that we wouldn’t necessarily do at Bodega, and we want it to have its own life,” Jay Gordon, co-owner of Bodega, said of its new banner. “Because of the sports angle, we want it to have its own real identity and to have something that may be scalable in other cities, we can do specialty stores in other cities under that name.”

Series will operate as a flex space — what co-owner Oliver Mak refers to as a “full fashion editorial come to life” — opening for special releases that fit in the fashion section of sports. Nike, Adidas and Vans have largely driven Bodega’s footwear business, but Gordon is mum on the brands Series will offer. The new concept — which has been in development since December — will also help Bodega better serve the quickly changing demands of today’s consumer.

“I like the idea of giving us a place to tell a more complete story and have it constantly changing. I think that’s more of what the customer wants right now,” Gordon said.

Bodega’s expansion is possible because of its growth, with an increase in sales both in store and online. Gordon confirmed the company’s sales are expected to increase 20 percent year-over-year.

And although Bodega’s leadership trio — Gordon, Mak and Dan Natola — has taken 10 years to expand, it’s a move brand partners have encouraged for a long time.

“Their insight is to what the consumer is looking for down the road — not just what’s happening today but what’s going to happen two years from now, three years from now,” said Randy Kinzly, account executive with Nike. “They’re always a forward-looking company.”

Vendor partners aren’t the only ones interested in Bodega’s expansion plans. “They’ve established themselves as one of the premier sneaker retailers in the country, and they have the respect of the brands and consumer,” said Matt Powell, global sports industry analyst with The NPD Group. “They’ve been very cautious and spending the time building the brand, making sure they’ve got the concept right, and you’ve got to capitalize on it when you can.”

Aside from Series, a new Bodega location will open on the West Coast in 2017. Gordon said the upcoming downtown Los Angeles space — dubbed LA Bodega, a nod to both the city and its Hispanic roots — should be open to the public by fall ’17.

And the moves won’t stop there. “I’ve got my eye on a couple of cities, both domestic and international,” Gordon said. “But I’m not doing anything until we get L.A. up and running. That’s a huge investment, and we want to make sure we do it right.”