Shop Talk: Kathryn Amberleigh Times Two… Bender’s Heads to Duluth

Doubling Down in New York
Kathryn Amberleigh is taking up a larger footprint in New York. The label bowed its second Big Apple store last week, in the city’s Meatpacking district. The 2,700-sq.-ft. space is significantly larger than the brand’s 400-sq.-ft. location on Mott Street. The new shop features a minimalist design, with shoes displayed on wooden shelves along the perimeter of the space. In the center, a white platform will serve as a showcase for upcoming collections. The new door allows the brand to showcase its nearly 1,000-SKU product offering, and also will serve as a meeting place with buyers. “This gives us a lot more space,” said owner Howard Kim. “We actually carry all our SKUs in this store.”

Bender’s Bows in Duluth
Family-focused footwear store Bender’s Shoes & More will open a new location on Friday, in Duluth, Minn. The opportunity to enter the market came after a flood damaged a 4,000-sq.-ft. Verizon Wireless store, which Bender Property LLC subsequently purchased and renovated. “It’s a lot bigger market than we’ve been in before, so this is exciting for us,” said owner Craig Bender, who chain has locations in Grand Rapids, Mich., and Hibbing, Minn. “[Duluth] is Minnesota’s fourth-largest city, so it’s a pretty good opportunity.”
Fit Flop Shops All Heart
Brian Curin, president and co-founder of Fit Flop Shops, is turning a close call into a call to action. Last year, the 38-year-old Curin, who was seemingly fit and healthy, underwent open-heart surgery to remove a blockage in his artery. Now, he is using his stores as a platform to raise awareness about heart disease. On Monday, the retailer launched an in-store and online campaign called “The Heart to Sole: Creating a Stress-Free America.” The campaign will raise funds for the American Heart Association. For each new franchisee sold in 2013, Fit Flop Shops will donate $500 to the association. Also, customers who donate $5 through the retailer’s website will receive 20 percent off their next online purchase. In June, the campaign will step up for “Stress-Free America Month.” Customers will be encouraged to make donations in stores, and the company plans to donate $1 for every pair of Sanuk Yoga Mat and Beer Cozy sandals it sells during the month. “The message of reducing stress from your heart down to your sole suits us well,” Curin said in a statement.

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