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Saturdays Surf to Open Asia, N.Y. Stores

The specialty retailer is launching an outpost in Tokyo on Friday, and plans to open an in-store shop in Hong Kong and a second unit in Manhattan this spring.

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Special Issue
Men'sWeek issue 03/22/2012

Saturdays Surf NYC is riding an expansion wave.

The directional specialty store whose flagship is located on Crosby Street in SoHo is opening an outpost in Tokyo on Friday, as well as an in-store shop in Hong Kong in April and a second New York City unit this spring.

Since opening its doors in August 2009 in a small location on a cobblestoned street in SoHo, Saturdays has created a niche for shoppers “occupied by surfing, living and working in New York City.” The shop began by selling surfboards and wet suits, along with books, art and accessories, but has since expanded into its own men’s wear label that it sells at its store and online, as well as through retailers such as Bloomingdale’s. The store also has an espresso bar in the front, as well as a wood-decked outdoor patio in the rear that encourages customers to relax and hang out.

It is this vibe that the Tokyo store will attempt to replicate, said Tatsuya Takaku, who runs a buying office for Japanese retailers and brought the Saturdays Surf line to the Jun Group, which operates stores including Adam et Rope Biotop and produces the United Bamboo collection.

“I bought the brand for my clients there and it sold so well, we offered Saturdays the idea of bringing a bigger project to Japan,” Takaku said.

Josh Rosen, who owns Saturdays with his partners Morgan Collett and Colin Tunstall, said the store has been popular with Japanese retailers and consumers since it opened.

“They’ve always been followers of the brand,” Rosen said. He said within a month of opening, a Beams buyer from Tokyo got in touch with the store and asked if they had a wholesale line. “We didn’t at the time, but the second we did, we sold it to Beams,” he said. “That was two-and-a-half years ago, and we’re building on that.”

Rosen said the Japanese consumer embraces the company’s New York style and surf persona. “The American vibe is very important there,” he said.

Saturdays started to explore the idea of opening a store in Tokyo about a year ago and had meetings with several potential partners. The owners settled on the Jun Group, which Rosen called “a cool, international company” and “a phenomenal partner with a lot of experience.” He said Adam et Rope installed a pop-up shop for the brand last year, which did well and helped seal the deal.

Takaku said Jun is partnering with Saturdays in a company called Crosby East, which will operate as a subsidiary.

The store will be 1,000 square feet and will include a 200-square-foot backyard that overlooks Tokyo, a rare occurrence in that city, Takaku said. It will also have an espresso bar. The shop will be located in the Daikanyama area, across from the recently opened Tsutaya bookstore, which is “pretty amazing and should bring a lot of attention to the area,” according to Rosen.

Takaku said Jun Group is hoping to open additional Saturdays stores in Japan in the future. “They would love to have a second and third store in Japan very soon,” he said.

At the same time, Rosen said Saturdays is opening a pop-up shop at the Lane Crawford store in Hong Kong. It will operate from April 15 to May 15 and “will have a very similar feel to the Saturdays store in New York City. It’s the perfect way for us to enter the Chinese market.”

Back on home turf, he said the company has signed a lease for a location in the West Village, on the corner of Perry Street and Waverly Place. “There’s a wonderful residential feeling over there, and it’s the ideal neighborhood for us,” Rosen said. The store is expected to open in May or June.

Rosen said the activity with the brand is exciting but the owners are working to not get carried away. “We’re just trying to hold on tight and not go crazy with expansion,” he said.