Allen Edmonds has been making men’s shoes for a long time — since 1922, to be exact. In recent years, the brand has expanded its horizons to include belts, leather briefcases and lan
bags and versatile clothing.
Allen Edmonds has also branched out with freestanding stores. Now a 700-square-foot unit will bow at Brookfield Place in downtown Manhattan in late 2016 or early 2017. It is expected to do sales of more than $2 million in its first year of operation.
The location will be Allen Edmonds’ fifth unit in New York. The company’s first store at 25 East 44th Street is a compact 600-square-foot unit, not much for a shoe retailer with inventory that consists of multiple sizes. But the brand likes the location, across the street from Brooks Brothers.
When a larger space at 20 West 43rd Street became available, Allen Edmonds jumped at it. “We gutted and remolded the store and have room for our non-shoe merchandise such as apparel, accessories and leather bags,” said Jay Schauer, Allen Edmonds’ chief financial officer.
Other Manhattan units include 1250 Avenue of the Americas at Rockefeller Center and 551 Madison Avenue at 55th Street.
“The amount of business we do in those four stores is amazing,” Schauer said. “We’ve been evaluating where to open next in Manhattan. Going downtown became an obvious move for us. We looked in the Financial District, on the street, at Westfield World Trade Center, and felt that Brookfield Place offered the best combination [of customers], appealing to local office workers and residents as well as being able to capture some tourism. We were a little gun-shy of the rents and costs of getting into the new World Trade Center. We felt Brookfield gave us the best chance.”
While the Brookfield Place store is just 700 square feet, Allen Edmonds will make the most of the space by adding a loft; the ceiling height is 23 feet. “With footwear, you need storage,” Schauer said. “The loft will enable us to maximize the selling space.
“We feel there’s an opportunity to merchandise the store with some products that are on the higher end of the price spectrum,” Schauer said. “We’ll offer unique footwear that isn’t in our other stores.” Strand cap-toe oxfords are $395 and casual Eastport boat shoes, $175.
The design of the store will be different from existing units, Schauer said. A mix of materials will be used, including metals and wood that’s washed-looking. “We’ll be bringing to life our logo with the hammer and our craftsmanship in a much more pronounced way,” he said. A large plaque bearing the symbol and “1922” will be visible from afar and visuals of oversize shoes such as lace-up dress models will hang on the walls.
“We’ll offer customization with options such as choosing the leather for shoes, which we don’t do much of elsewhere,” Schauer said.
Non-footwear items offered by Allen Edmonds include black-coated Courage five-pocket 34 Heritage jeans, $195; Spanish Merino shearling coats, $1,895, and goat suede blazers, $795.