Why This Successful E-Commerce Brand Opened a Brick-and-Mortar Store

Thursday Boot Co., known for its classic footwear with an urban aesthetic, is joining a growing movement of direct-to-consumer brands that are discovering the merits of good, old-fashioned brick-and-mortar retailing.

Yesterday, the company opened its first store, in New York’s trendy SoHo neighborhood. It joins a roster of high-profile fashion retailers in the area, with Ugg just a few doors down from its Mercer Street location.

The store is the first in a planned store rollout that could include cities such as San Francisco, Chicago and Boston. The move, said co-founder Nolan Walsh, was inspired by Alicia Martinez, the company’s chief of customer care.

“I pushed for the store,” she said after last year’s debut of an informal retail space in the company’s headquarters in the nearby Flatiron District. “People come in here and want to try product on, feel it and touch it,” she said, adding that shoppers had been asking the company about any plans to open a more formal store.

Thursday Boot Co. store
Thursday Boot Co.’s New York store.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Thursday Boot Company

While the showroom space, which generates revenues in the six figures, taps customers working and living in the area through its website and word-of-mouth, the Soho site is likely to attract a wider audience of passersby, both local and tourist.

“We see a lot of promise in brick-and-mortar,” said Walsh. “It gives us the ability to give texture and context to the brand and do a better job of connecting to people.”

Also contributing to the decision to expand into retail, noted Walsh, was a favorable negotiated rent, making it a more profitable venture. And, he added, the store will serve as a testing ground for new products.

The compact 750-square-foot two-level space, designed by Martinez, includes leather accessories and outerwear, and echoes the area’s old New York vibe but with a contemporary aesthetic. Brick walls are painted fresh white, and barn doors hide inventory on the second floor.

Men's Thursday Boot Co.
Men’s lace-up style from Thursday Boot Co.
CREDIT: Thursday Boot Co.

Since the brand’s founding in 2014 by entrepreneurs Walsh, 30, and Connor Wilson, it has posted double-digit annual growth, selling in every state and 75 countries.

The collection offers boots for men and women, in addition to classic loafers and brogues for men. Product is produced mainly in Mexico and retails from about $149 to $350.

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