Shop Talk: Vans Hits NY… City Sports Goes High-tech…

Vans Rolls into Big Apple
Vans made it first foray into the New York retail market last week with The General, a space co-operated with skate shop DQM. The store, located at 93 Grand St. in the city’s Soho neighborhood, will carry the full breadth of the Vans product offering, including shoes from the limited-edition Vault and California collections, the main and surf lines, Vans apparel, DQM apparel and co-branded The General merchandise. It also will function as a destination for shop-only exclusives and, down the line, customized footwear options, according to Doug Palladini, VP of marketing for Cypress, Calif.-based Vans.

The 2,600-sq.-ft. shop, formally called The Vans DQM General, was designed by Vans to reflect the melding of Vans’ California skate culture with New York skate culture. The space, housed within a designated New York City Landmark building, features brick walls and high ceilings, and highlights product alongside New York- and California-centric memorabilia. According to Palladini, Vans chose to open with DQM to bring the New York perspective to the venture. “Chris [Keefe, DQM’s owner,] is a very important retailer for Vans, and [we liked] the idea of bringing together Southern California and New York. We felt this was the most authentic way to do this,” he said. — Jennifer Ernst Beaudry

City Sports Preps for 19th Store Opening
Plans are under way for City Sports to debut its latest and most-innovative store to date at 475 Washington St. in Wellesley, Mass., later this month. The 10,000-sq.-ft. space, designed by Gensler, incorporates a wraparound steel awning meant to frame and showcase the interior, as well as the product on display. The store features a freestanding footwear wall, as well as iPad devices that allow customers to research products on the retailer’s website. “At City Sports, we pride ourselves on giving our customers a uniquely unmatched shopping experience, and each store opening is a chance to up the ante in that arena,” President and CEO Jeff Connor said in a statement.

SoleRebels Starts Global Rollout
African footwear firm SoleRebels recently took the first step in a global retail strategy. The brand’s first location, which opened Sept. 13 in Addis Abba, Ethiopia, features its WalkNaked products, made with Abyssinian hand-spun cotton linings. Stocking 800 styles, priced from $30 to $95, the flagship features a dynamic design scheme highlighted by bold, floor-to-ceiling graphics and the WalkNaked logo throughout. “WalkNaked beautifully sums up so many things about SoleRebels, from the lightness [and comfort] of our footwear … to the overall attitude of our brand,” Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, founder and managing director, said in a statement. “This is a model store for our global retail rollout, which will occur both via company-owned and franchised stores.”

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