NEW YORK — After four years on Great Jones Street, it’s finally time to settle in.
C.C. Filson Co., the venerable outdoors brand that was founded in 1897 as an outfitter for explorers heading to Alaska for the Gold Rush, has operated a store on the NoHo street for a while now, but it never really felt like home. That changed this week when the company unveiled a complete remodel of the space, one that speaks to the brand’s roots.
“It used to be a white box,” said Alex Carlton, Filson’s creative director. “It hadn’t been updated in a couple of years so we decided we had to do a facelift.”
Carlton said the brand “wanted to evolve the space and Filson-ize it” at the same time as it “put more of a stake in the ground. Before, it had more of a temporary feel.”
Now, the 1,800-square-foot store sports a rugged, outdoorsy look with lots of reclaimed wood from Portland, Ore., and a bevy of authentic folk art and antiques — wooden carvings of Canada geese, stuffed beavers, bison pelts — that highlight the brand’s Pacific Northwest heritage.
“This store has more of a workwear vibe,” he said, pointing to the work shirts, jackets, button-down shirts, caps and wide assortment of backpacks and rucksacks. Although men’s and accessories are most dominant in the space, the new women’s and camp collections are also offered. The store also includes some pieces that are exclusive to the Great Jones Street unit such as artisan belt Western buckles and special T-shirts.
Carlton said Filson will continue to use store as an “incubator” for the new ideas coming out of the company’s headquarters in Seattle. “We will experiment more in this space,” he said.
Case in point: the store sells the company’s new performance collection, which Carlton said has turned into a growing category for Filson. “We’re known for our wool and cottons and we were cautious about coming out with too many technical things, but it’s consistent with our heritage — Filson was created to solve problems — and it’s become one of our strongest performers.”
The store has also proven to be a bit of a pioneer itself. Carlton said the strength of its performance over the past several years has prompted the company to roll out more stores on the East Coast. Currently, Filson operates 13 stores in the U.S. and Canada — and one in London — but most are in the Northwest and Midwest as well as in Texas.
“Filson never had a retail store in New York or on the East Coast until this one opened four years ago,” Carlton said. “But we’ve seen success here so focusing on the Northeast will be our thing this year.”
He said the NoHo store offers “a stripped-down, no-nonsense sensibility” that has connected with consumers in the area. As a result, Filson will open a flagship in Boston in August, as well as another unit in New York City, on Union Square, later this year. Also on the docket for this year are relocations and remodels of the company’s Washington, D.C. and Minneapolis stores.
In addition to its own retail, Filson is also carried in specialty sporting goods stores such as Paragon and REI in New York City and also has its own robust direct-to-consumer e-commerce site.