Fivestory is headed south.
The upscale women’s boutique will open its first location outside the New York City area next month when it debuts a 2,500-square-foot store at 201 Royal Poinciana Way in Palm Beach, Fla.
Fivestory, which was purchased by industry veteran Karen Murray in 2019, relocated from its original location at 18 East 69th Street to a higher visibility space at 1020 Madison Avenue just as the pandemic hit in full force. Because so many New Yorkers decamped to their weekend and vacation homes to escape the COVID-19 spread in Manhattan, Murray followed them to Southampton, where she opened a smaller outpost. It was the success of that unit that prompted Murray to make the move to Florida.
“The Hamptons has been great, but almost every person who walked into that store has a home in Palm Beach,” she said.
Taking that as a sign, Murray found a prime spot close to the Breakers resort in what she described as a “walkable shopping area. It’s not on Worth Avenue and it’s not at the Poinciana Mall, but it’s right next to the Breakers and when they go to check in and their rooms aren’t ready, they can come in and shop. That’s just what we want.”
Although the store is not five stories like the original and current site in Manhattan, Murray said there are instead five separate rooms, each dedicated to a different merchandise category: new and emerging designers, vintage, accessories, shoes and home products.
The space will be decorated in overblown floral wallpaper, marble and bronze accents, and feature Murray’s favorite color, blush, throughout. It is bright, open and full of windows, Murray said, and a turquoise awning will speak to the resort feel of the community.
The store will carry a selection of luxury brands, custom clothing, vintage and runway fashion, accessories, beauty and exclusive tabletop items. Brands such as Max Mara, Missoni and Prabal Gurung will hang alongside emerging designers including independent Australian label Rohe, separates by Canessa and resortwear by Carolina K.
Fivestory will be the exclusive carrier of Mugler, Officine Générale and Joslin in Palm Beach, and will launch a new collaboration: Batsheva x Laura Ashley.
Other highlights in the assortment will include accessories by Paris Texas; Three Graces jewelry; maillots by swimwear brands Maygel Coronel and Millie, and Olivia von Halle loungewear.
The “pre-loved” assortment of fashion and jewelry will include pieces Murray purchased from a well-known vintage shop, Classic Collections, that went out of business during the pandemic. “We took over her relationships and her inventory,” Murray explained.
The Palm Beach store will have a soft opening on Oct. 6 and a grand opening and celebration in early November, she said.
Like the two other stores, this unit will also host special events such as one with designer Rubin Singer slated for the Upper East Side flagship later this week.
Murray said since bringing Fivestory to Madison Avenue with a new business model, sales have been challenged because of the pandemic. But things have begun to look up.
“When I bought Fivestory, I wanted to reintroduce it to the market with not just emerging and new brands but also exclusives, home and pre-loved and vintage pieces,” she said. “But that was right before COVID and we didn’t do a lot of marketing.
“But in the last month, New York has come back with a vengeance,” Murray continued. “People are back from the Hamptons or wherever they’ve been holed up for a year and a half, kids are back in school and some offices have opened again. We’re seeing constant walk-in traffic and we’re having a really good September.”
She said the Hamptons store, which opened in April of 2020, will remain through Thanksgiving.
Beyond that, Murray said there are no plans to open additional Fivestory stores right now. “We felt sure about this one because everyone in Palm Beach is from New York and knows the store,” she said. “We feel really good about the business we will do there.”
Murray, whose background included chief executive officer of Sequential Brands and president of VF Sportswear, bought Fivestory in the fall of 2019. The store was founded by Claire Olshan and her father, Fred Distenfeld, in 2012. Following the sale, Murray opted to relocate from the side street to Madison Avenue in a site sandwiched between Serafina Fabulous Pizza and La Maison du Chocolat that previously housed Lilly Pulitzer.