With its mustachioed soap pumps, oversize fly swatters and fluorescent pink toilet cleaners, the first Flying Tiger store in the U.S. opens Saturday on Broadway and 21st Street in Manhattan’s Flatiron neighborhood.
It’s a quirky, inexpensive array including office, DIY, arts and crafts, travel, and small-ticket exercise and kitchen items, with almost everything priced under $10. Many products are priced under $5. There’s also a cross-generational appeal to the assortment of espadrilles, neck pillows, candles, wellness balls, yoga mats, tabletop, shower curtains, as well as silly magnets, coloring books, costumes, and ponchos for two.
Tiger is a $1 billion Danish chain, based in Copenhagen, now operating in America under the name Flying Tiger Copenhagen to avoid trademark issues. There are about 450 stores in Europe and Japan. A Danish private equity firm, EQT, owns a 70 percent stake in Tiger, while the founder, Lennart Lajboschitz, retains the minority.
From the Flying Tiger entrance on Broadway, there’s a single aisle — heavily merchandised with displays on both sides and low hanging lighting — that wends its way through the 5,000-square-foot space, encouraging browsing and a sense of discovery. The track of the store veers left, snakes to the back and then to the right side of the store to the checkout area.
“It’s a guided tour,” said Tina Kanter, managing director of Flying Tiger Copenhagen, describing the format during a walk-through of the space on Thursday. “There is a flow, a logical sequence of categories,” said Kanter, as she pointed out such items as the $3 reception bells and deeper into the store, the $10 headphones. Given the low prices, it would seem Tiger, which designs its products, operates on low margins but makes its profit through rapid inventory turns. “We’re all about volume and the experience,” said Kanter, who is spearheading the U.S. expansion.