NEW YORK — Shopify is putting down roots in Manhattan.
The e-commerce platform on Thursday will open the doors to Shopify New York, a two-level, 8,000-square-foot space in SoHo that is intended to serve as an entrepreneurial hub for its members and customers.
The space at 131 Greene Street is “part community hub, part resource center and part a place to start for entrepreneurs,” said Arpan Podduturi, director of product, retail and messaging at Shopify.
Once inside, visitors will find a rotating retail space where products from New York-based brands will be showcased. For the opening, these include Greenery Unlimited, a garden center from Brooklyn, and Nguyen Coffee Supply, an online merchant that specializes in coffee from Vietnam — two brands powered by Shopify.
Going forward, the brands will change continually “to keep the space fresh,” Podduturi said.
Right behind the retail shop is a coffee and snack shop, Cha Ching Café, operated by Birch Coffee Merchants. And throughout the location are a variety of work stations, a photo studio and a podcast studio.
It’s free to access the location and book 30-minute one-on-one appointments with Shopify “gurus,” who can help aspiring entrepreneurs navigate how to launch their own brands on the site “and help with any business challenges,” Podduturi said.
The photo studio costs $100 for two hours and includes the use of high-quality equipment, while the podcast studio, with professional-grade audio- and video-recording equipment, rents for $150 for an hour. It is not necessary to be a member of Shopify to use either of these but reservations are required.
One of the biggest challenges for someone wanting to start a business is creating high-quality photographs, Podduturi said. And podcasts are being used more and more by business owners to get their brand message noticed. So by offering low-cost options to help entrepreneurs overcome these difficulties, the aim is to build a community of small business owners.
The space will also be used to host events and speakers, Podduturi said. All staff uniforms are designed and manufactured by New York or Nowhere and a mural wall in the space was created by local artist and merchant Naomi Otsu.
Shopify NYC is actually the second of its kind in the U.S. There is a similar space in downtown Los Angeles in the Row DTLA that has been open for a couple of years, Podduturi said. And although the location has been shuttered due to the pandemic, it has continued to service members virtually. “It’s a really important hub to bring local L.A. entrepreneurs together,” he said. “Being an entrepreneur is really lonely and hard, and we’ve found that nothing replaces that one-on-one interaction for inspiration and practical support.”
New York and Los Angeles are two of Shopify’s largest merchant markets, he said. In fact, four out of every 1,000 people in New York City are Shopify merchants. Among the best known are Kith, Allbirds and Telfar as well as smaller brands such as Paintbucket, a nail studio, and CeeCee’s Closet NYC, a fashion brand.
If this site is successful, Podduturi said Shopify will open more physical locations in the future in the company’s largest markets. But there are no immediate plans for additional units immediately beyond the one in SoHo.
“Much of New York City’s heart and soul comes from its entrepreneurs,” said Harley Finkelstein, Shopify’s president. “To keep New York City as one of the most entrepreneurial cities in the world we’re giving New Yorkers the resources and tools they need to build successful businesses. If you’re a Shopify merchant, a business owner or an aspiring entrepreneur trying to make it in NYC, make it to Shopify New York. This space is for you.”
Shopify, which is a public company trading on the Nasdaq exchange, reported profits increased 120 percent to $284.6 million and powered gross merchandise volume of $42.2 billion in the second quarter ended June 30. As reported, Shopify recently hired men’s designer Christopher Bevans as senior creative lead for the company’s soon-to-launch creator program, which helps creators become entrepreneurs.