Extra Butter is expanding.
The renowned New York-based boutique is opening its second store, this time in the borough of Queens. And given its affinity for the arts — specifically film — it’s fitting that the retailer’s Long Island City door takes space within the PS1 building adjacent to the Museum of Modern Art.
“Long Island City was a blank canvas, Ankur [Amin] and I discussed that, and we felt the Queens borough needed representation,” Nick Amin, CFO of Extra Butter parent company TGS, explained to FN. “Long Island City next to MoMA, I think it gives us a wonderful opportunity to tell our story.”
For the Extra Butter fan, the store’s aesthetics will be familiar. Housed within the roughly 3,000 square feet of retail space is the movie theme carried over from its Lower East Side store through a theatre setting with 12 plush vintage seats, as well as a cinema-quality projector and sound. Also, the location features an activation space for art exhibits and pop-up events and a concession stand stocked with rare soda, candy and popcorn.
Additionally, the Queens store features a hidden 1930’s-inspired speakeasy with craft beers and top-shelf libations.
“Extra Butter in Lower East Side has a cafe, and here we wanted to bring something different, so we created a bar that is very small and quaint,” Nick explained. “The speakeasy itself will be professionally run and it has his own hours.”
Although most elements within the store are synonymous with what consumers expect from Extra Butter, such as curtains and hardwood floors, the two brought in elements to Queens that aren’t present in the Lower East Side including new lighting and a seated lounge area.
For Nick and Ankur, opening in Queens comes with a bit of nostalgia. The brothers spent their childhood in the borough and worked at their uncle’s sneaker store on Queens Boulevard in the 1980s.
“It kind of gives you a glimpse of where we all came from. Nick and I grew up in Queens, and Bernie [Gross] — who is basically an EB lifer, he’s the creative director — he grew up in Queens,” TGS CEO Ankur Amin told FN. “It’s an amazing opportunity to come back to Queens, to do more Queens storytelling and fully rep the borough the right way.”
He continued, “Queens is becoming a thing now. We’ve got some amazing people, amazing creatives, putting Queens as a borough on their back, people like Teddy Santis [of Aimé Leon Dore] and Ronnie [Fieg]. We would love to be part of that conversation. We’re going back home and repping our borough and talking about an era that may not have got the credit that it deserves.”
Extra Butter’s new store, which is located at 22-03 Jackson Avenue, opens its doors to the public on Oct. 28. With the new door, the boutique will offer exclusive sneaker and apparel drops over the opening weekend.
Although Extra Butter is opening its new door now, the plan was to have the store up-and-running much sooner. Nick and Ankur said they started the ideation process in April 2019 with plans to open in March.
Now that the store is opening, its ownership admits the timing — with e-commerce surging and some people still weary of shopping with COVID-19 still present — isn’t ideal.
“The brick and mortar route, we know it’s not the right time,” Nick said. “However, we know that the public needs to see and feel and hear from us in terms of the physical part of retail. The commitment has always been there for Ankur and I to brick and mortar, and we want to give the best experience possible. We’re in a field where products are need to be touched and felt.”
Ankur added, “Extra butter needs to live in brick-and-mortar because we’re in the delivering experience business, it’s more than just retail. We’ve got a unique point of view within the industry and the way we deliver our point of view is through a physical connection.”
Recognizing this more digitally-focused era of shopping, Extra Butter has spent much of 2020 ramping up its e-com efforts. Aside from promoting its mobile app that is available now, Ankur confirmed that customers can expect to see a new website design “very soon.”
Addressing further expansion, Ankur told FN that the focus at the moment is Queens but more doors are a possibility — given the right circumstances.
“Nick and I have a road map for Extra Butter. There’s a ton of interest in the brand, and we have tons of growth potential,” Ankur said. “We can fit into a lot of different cities, but we’re going to follow a plan. We want to be more of a brand, we want to perfect the formula, and in growing too fast sometimes that can be compromised.”
He continued, “There’s a lot of people looking to partner with us and we’ve had to turn them down because it’s important to Nick and I that we grow organically, But if the right partner comes along that can speed up this process and help in ways that we need that help, you might see something faster from us. Otherwise, we’re going to take it at the pace that we were going.”