Urban Exploration: A New Frontier for North Facehttps://www.chutegerdeman.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/NorthFace.jpg1440428Chute GerdemanChute Gerdemanhttps://secure.gravatar.com/avatar/27b8b1d5d4480e694e1d763231b8e868?s=96&d=mm&r=g
After 50 years in business it’s hard to believe that 5th Avenue, let alone Manhattan, is new territory for the outdoor lifestyle brand, North Face. The two-story, 20,000 square foot flagship at the intersection of 5th and 43rd streets is not only the brand’s largest footprint, but also represents a shift towards the brand’s store expansion into urban exploration.
To create this authentic experience housed in the Manufacturer’s Trust Building, the brand’s architects collaborated with the product design team to integrate the high-quality product materials into the design. The nylon and aluminum used to manufacturer the brand’s tents can be seen in the fitting room construction, while climbing hooks serve as shelf supports, and duffel bags hang from climbing carabineers.
With floor to ceiling glass, the space is flooded with natural light, while overhead illuminated panels serve as almost a mirror imitation. White walls and white tiled floor subtly resemble a fresh coat of snow, and illuminated cubes depict lifestyle images of urban and artic adventures.
Rather than merchandised by department, collections are grouped by function often featuring men and women side by side. With a graduated approach, the first floor aims to appeal to everyday adventurers, while the second floor is geared towards the serious mountaineer—snowshoes, ice picks, and products from the brand’s newly released Summit Collection. Here, customers will also find a 10-foot interactive climbing wall to test product. The store associates have even been specifically trained and certified by the American Mountain Guide Association to provide customers the most accurate equipment selection based on their adventures.
Aside from the 5th Avenue coordinates, the flagship offers a few other first-ever features like a custom embroidery station offered by Lot, Stock, and Barrel, a brand partnership with New Era, and an exclusive NYC merchandise section. The brand is also expected to launch a concierge service to help customers with travel ideas.
Erik Searle, North Face’s VP of Retail, explains, “This store is definitely an expression of our brand’s heritage, but it’s primarily an expression of our future and where we, and our customers, are going.” Understanding that 80 percent of the U.S. lives in an urban area the brand is making a concentrated decision not only for future strategic location selection, but also evaluating what that means from a product selection standpoint as well as unique in-store experience. It’s a matter of evolving with customers’ lifestyles over time that will allow brands to remain relevant.