Physical retail will have a new concept next month through a rotation of curated spaces, courtesy of Fourpost.
The concept will open Nov. 1 at the Mall of America in Minnesota and the West Edmonton Mall in Alberta, Canada. Fourpost plans to roll out additional locations beginning in 2019. The retail model features a rotating series of studio shops, eateries and events within an area that’s between 10,000 to 20,000 square feet. The idea is to create a different retail experience that connects brands with consumers, and have the space become a destination spot within the mall.
Mark Ghermezian, who founded Fourpost, is a serial entrepreneur with a background in CRM technology. He also has roots in retail, and the choice for the concept launch locations wasn’t by accident. His family is best known for the creation of Mall of America and West Edmonton, the popular megamall and entertainment complexes that have been in operation for decades.
The space at the Mall of America was formerly a J. Crew store, and it will have 30 brands at launch. There are 25 brands slated for the West Edmonton launch.
The category mix will be 45 percent home and gifts, 35 percent fashion and accessories and 20 percent food and services. That mix makes it somewhat different from b8ta, although both do use SaaS to digitally onboard their brand tenants.
According to Ghermezian, the Fourpost shops expand on the curated space idea by creating “storefronts” using a platform that makes it easier for startups to open a retail shop. “This is a solution to what’s happening in the markets. Brands want retail, but [have found that] a pop-up for a day or so doesn’t really work,” he said.
Fourpost members can use the dashboard to navigate storefront data to garner insights for growing their businesses. And they have access to resources connected with account management, business training, event booking and billing.
According to Ghermezian, the turnkey approach lowers the barrier-to-entry for startups and early stage brands because it does away with long leases, high rents, capital expenses for build out and other operational logistics. Brands can choose a studio shop shape that’s either a cube, rectangle or triangle. Fourpost provides the fixtures, signage, lighting, POS hardware and Wi-Fi, as well as an area for events and storage space. The brand mix will incorporate both local start-ups and established digital natives, making each concept space unique to its geographic location.
“The platform speaks to new brands coming into the marketplace,” Ghermezian said. He said that leases are for six or 12 months, with the rental fee different for each shape. While the leased spaces are defined by shapes and not square footage, Ghermezian said the different shapes can also be combined. The company headquarters is Manhattan and there are 15 staff members.
Fourpost recently raised a $5 million seed round led by Social Capital. There are also eight other fund investors in the round, as well as eight angel investors that include Ariel Kaye, founder and chief executive officer of Parachute; Bipul Sinha, founder and ceo of Rubrik, and Dave Gilboa, cofounder and co-ceo of Warby Parker.