Neighborhood Goods, which calls itself a progressive department store, will open its second location at Chelsea Market in a 4,500-square-foot, high-profile space in the fall. Another 3,000 square feet on the lower level will be activated as selling and event space, but not immediately.
As a discovery and delivery mechanism for customers and brands, Neighborhood Goods — whose inaugural 14,000-square-foot space at Legacy West in Plano, Tex., bowed in November 2018 — exposes the former to labels they might not see at traditional retailers, and offers the latter a cost-effective way to capture the attention of consumers.
Neighborhood Goods was planning to open a New York location, but not so soon. “We’d been very wary of doing New York too quickly,” said cofounder Matt Alexander, adding that he first learned about the space in December. “We talked about not aggressively trying to pursue anything there for a year or two. When an opportunity at the entrance of Chelsea Market comes along, you listen.”
And Alexander isn’t stopping at Manhattan. Another Neighborhood Goods could launch this year “and then we’ll be in a regular cadence next year of opening one store every two months or so, or in even less time. We’ll have the cadence of these longtail deals launching quite regularly in 2020. There will be one more in Texas, a couple in California, some in the Midwest, and some on the East Coast. All locations will be in the 10,000-square-foot to 20,000-square-foot range and closer to the Plano model.”
Neighborhood Goods has raised $14.5 million in seed funding since its inception, with investors including Forerunner Ventures and Global Founders Capital. “Investors and potential partners interested in providing different capital facilities in different forms,” Alexander said. “The next step will be a Series A round.
“All brands can open pop-ups in SoHo, for argument’s sake,” Alexander added. “Rents in the Meatpacking District are much more expensive and less accessible to the younger brands we work with. When this opportunity came along, it really clicked for us. The location checks every possible box in terms of the ecosystem of a neighborhood and what location means to the brand.”
Alexander said it was a little too early to name potential brands to be sold at Chelsea Market, adding, “You’ll see some of the brands we work with now manifesting in New York.” Legacy West’s brand roster has expanded to 40 from 24 at launch and includes Stadium Goods, Draper James, Rothy’s, Taschen, Buck Mason and Primary, among others. Serena Williams was among those in the first wave.
The Chelsea Market location will be category-driven as opposed to Plano, where there are discrete spaces of up to 500 square feet for concepts. The unit continues to evolve. “We’re creating our take on a pharmacy of sorts with the introduction of 10 to 12 wellness brands,” Alexander said. “We’re increasingly finding that brands want to participate in blended spaces. Some brands we’re working with now aren’t coming in to sell products. We turned the whole front of the store into a library, presented by Taschen, and we’re hosting exercise classes with Pure Bar, among others.”
Categories including apparel, wellness, lifestyle and jewelry will feature between two and five brands at Chelsea Market. “What’s interesting is finding the balance between traditional big names and venture-backed and independent brands,” Alexander said. “We are getting more interest from major household names. We have a very strong point of view.”
Michael Phillips, president of Jamestown, said the addition of Neighborhood Goods to Chelsea Market’s shopping roster will “bring an innovative disruptor to our thousands of daily visitors.”
A big element of Neighborhood Goods in Plano is its Prim and Proper restaurant. Chelsea Market is known predominantly for its many food offerings, but Alexander isn’t daunted. “We’re working with a local group to develop a new concept,” he said. “It will be distinct and unique to the location and designed to operate during all major day parts. The retail store may not necessarily be open, but you could have breakfast in the morning or drinks later in the evening.”
Neighborhood Goods will also have access to a patio on Ninth Avenue, said co-founder Matt Alexander, adding, “Greenery has become very important to us. It was like, how can we hack our way into a little more square footage? The patio probably adds 500 to 1,000 square feet.”
“Our concept is very compatible with Chelsea Market,” Alexander added. “We see it as an introductory point for us in New York City.”