Indie sneaker brand Greats is about to get even greater.
On April 20, the Brooklyn-based brand is opening its second store in the U.S., a 500-square-foot space at 42 Crosby St. in New York’s trendy Soho neighborhood.
According to Ryan Babenzien, CEO and co-founder, the store follows on the heels of the opening of a location in Venice, Calif. “We intended opening New York first,” said Babenzien of finding the ideal location on the West Coast. “We’re very particular about where we want to be.”
The New York store shares Crosby Street with like-minded retailers including Bonobos, Saturday Surf and Aether apparel, said Babenzien. It’s sits at the corner of Broome Street, which boasts high street traffic as well as serving as a thoroughfare for cars heading to the Holland Tunnel. “The front of the store acts as a billboard,” said Babenzien about the unique location.
The store’s interior design welcomes sneakerheads with features such as wavy walls and a swing built into the ceiling. Beyond a point of sale, it will serve as a gathering place for fans of the brand interested in discussions with industry veterans and artist meet-and-greets.
While Greats, which launched as an e-commerce brand, remains committed to that platform, the company planned to add brick-and-mortar from the beginning. “We believe that a combination of e-commerce and retail was going to provide the best experience and mix for our customer,” said Babenzien. “We’re late in opening our stores since we couldn’t make [product] fast enough for our e-commerce [business]. If we opened a store, we were going to sell out even faster.”
With a duo of stores now up and running, Babenzien said the company has plans to open two more in North America this year. In addition, Greats has partnered with Nordstrom, its single wholesale account to date. “We were approached by every major wholesale and chose one. We think Nordstrom is the best in the business in the category.”
Greats offers product for both men and women. While men’s remains a stronger business, Babenzien said women’s continues to be meaningful, attracting cool, stylish women. “They’re not bleeding-edge hipsters that have to have the newest,” he explained. “Instead, they are looking for something stylish and well-done.”
Coinciding with the store’s opening is the launch of a collaboration with menswear label Dyne. The Dyne x Greats Pronto limited-edition style is inspired by its classic runner and handmade in Italy. Each shoe features a leather lining and hand-cut leather stabilizer on the heel. It’s available in two colorways, each with reflective 3M accents and Dyne ribbon heel tabs.
“We have been fans of Greats for a long time,” said Christopher Bevans, creative director for Dyne. “They embody craftsmanship and innovation, which is what Dyne stands for. The Pronto is a model that we felt worked perfectly for the collaboration. Because of its materials, fit and being made in Italy, we knew it was premium.” The shoe retails for $240 and is available for men and women.
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