How Lapstone & Hammer Will Own High-End Men’s Retail With it’s Refreshed Philly Store

Lapstone & Hammer
A look inside Lapstone & Hammer.
Evan Kaucher.

With its doors open for less than two years, premium menswear and sportswear boutique Lapstone & Hammer is a fresh face in Philadelphia’s retail landscape. But expansion is already its founder’s priority.

Footwear retail veteran Brian Nadav — who is also VP of City Blue, the sneaker-focused chain founded by his father in 1981 — is working on a new addition to Lapstone’s current Chestnut Street storefront.

“When I envisioned Lapstone & Hammer, it was to sit between your sneaker boutique and your higher-end Barneys or Bergdorf Goodman space,” Nadav said. “Building out this next room is going to secure and complete the vision.”

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Lapstone & Hammer Philly’s Lapstone & Hammer. Evan Kaucher.

The boutique boasts 3,250 square feet of selling space, and this summer (just in time for fall merchandise to hit shelves) a 1,200-square foot area once designated for special events will become a permanent fixture.

The expansion will house contemporary luxury footwear and apparel from high-end designers. Brands already confirmed to fill the space include Comme des Garçons, Rick Owens DRKSHDW and AMI.

Nadav admitted the expansion will cost between $150,000 and $250,000, but the build-out is possible in part due to strong performance at the register.

Lapstone, which opened in June 2015, topped its founder’s first-year sales expectations of $2 million. And Nadav expects to bring in north of $4 million in revenue by the end of its second year of business.

Lapstone & Hammer The sneaker selection inside Lapstone & Hammer in Philadelphia. Evan Kaucher.

Footwear accounts for roughly 75 percent of sales at the boutique, but Nadav believes the ratio could shift to a 60–40 split after the opening of the new space, which will feature more apparel than footwear.

Dominating Lapstone’s sales are boots and sneakers — both sportswear and lifestyle looks. Labels lead- ing the way include Nike, Jordan Brand, Clarks, Fracap, Timberland, Red Wing and Filling Pieces.

“Brian understands our brand, our vision, and Lapstone is the local hero we look for in our partners: prominent within their city and within their region,” said Leroy Niemel, digital marketing manager for Filling Pieces.

Niemel also confirmed that a Filling Pieces collaboration with Lapstone & Hammer will arrive for spring ’18. It differs from the retailer’s prior collabs, which have been for boots.

But Nadav does face challenges as a young store — namely, landing premium labels.

“We have a beautiful store and are doing great business, but when you’re selling primarily sportswear, [some brands] look at that and say, ‘You’re too sportswear. We want to be in a luxury market,’” Nadav said. “It takes that first luxury brand to take a chance and partner with you.”

Luxury names on Nadav’s wish list include Fear of God, Off-White and Balenciaga. And the retailer is in talks with Adidas to begin carrying the line, which Nadav said has a U.S. account freeze. “Not having Adidas is a huge challenge for us because of the energy the brand has right now,” Nadav said.

Lapstone & Hammer Another look inside Lapstone & Hammer. Evan Kaucher.

For now, the retailer is focused on finishing the store upgrade, which is expected to be complete by June. Afterward, he will consider opening a second store, but if it happens, it won’t be in Philly. “The Lapstone & Hammer concept is a one-per-city deal,” he said. “The next store is going to have to be in another major market.”

As for his brand partners, they are optimistic about Lapstone’s growth prospects. “There’s room for a Lapstone & Hammer elsewhere in the U.S. or in Europe,” Niemel said. “Because the storytelling from Lapstone is strong and because of how Lapstone creates its own content and Brian runs the business, another store could work anywhere.”