The outdoors retailer opened the doors to its newest outpost in Seattle, located in the same building as corporate headquarters at 1741 1st Avenue South. The store is stocked with the broadest range of apparel, accessories and other gear than any other Filson store and also gives customers a peek at the manufacturing process through windows looking into the company’s factory floor.
The 118-year-old company, born out of the Alaska gold rush, has made a name for itself with the majority of its product produced by the company in Seattle. Its goods attract a diverse customer base that ranges from the core loggers and fisherman looking for utility pieces, to an office worker in need of a quality leather briefcase.
“We’ve got a very healthy wholesale business. We’ve got a very healthy dot-com business,” said president Gray Madden. “But we really need to do a more immersive consumer experience if we’re going to shine the light on the brand. We need customers to be able to experience what it looks like and feels like and export our Pacific Northwest look and feel to other places in the country.”
The move is part of a larger undertaking to grow the business via tactics such as increased marketing and advertising this year and into next, including the re-skinning of the Web site next year to play up the brand’s story, as well as planned store growth.
Next month Filson will add a second store in London to its portfolio. San Francisco is up next in January along with a door in Chicago. Two more are likely to join that bunch by the end of calendar year 2016 and there’s likely another half-dozen on the books being developed, according to Madden.
Filson now operates six stores, with the opening in Seattle, and has two factory outlets.
The latest store in Seattle represents a relocation from the company’s former address on 4th Avenue, which was housed in the company’s 35,000-square-foot manufacturing facility. Filson has two manufacturing facilities in Seattle and a third in Post Falls, Idaho, which it acquired two years ago as part of its scaling of the business.
The new store takes up a larger footprint than the previous one, adding about 2,400 square feet to total 6,400 square feet. It’s the largest of the company’s currently operating stores and will likely remain as the company looks to open doors that are around the 2,200-square-foot mark.
Unique to the location are large windows opening out onto the factory floor.
“Everything that Filson makes is guaranteed for life. We’re very proud of the fact that if we make it, we stand behind it and we want to show the world what we’re good at,” Madden said.
It’s a feature of the store the company would be interested in having at other locations, but it’s a fine line it must walk in an effort to remain authentic.
“We would love to be able to replicate that everywhere but we don’t want to be disingenuous and fake it,” Madden said. “We don’t want that fake idea of a little cobbler in the corner of the store.”