ANIMAL MAGNETISM

Byline: Karen Robinovitz

Chuckie’s has hit SoHo.
After opening eight years ago on the Upper East Side, the shoe emporium headed south to service its growing legion of customers from that part of town.
“Over the last 3 1/2 years, our store has really changed,” said owner Richie Erani. “We’re very designer-oriented and sell all different price points, and our customers have learned to really trust us. They don’t have to go to all the department stores when they need something specific anymore.”
The downtown location opened its doors in late August. Erani projected first year volume of $1 million to $1.3 million, roughly comparable to what the uptown store generates. So far, the hip clientele has been hot for Chuckie’s own label of knee-high leopard-print boots.
“They’re one of our bestsellers,” Erani said. “Although there are so many shoe stores here, none of them are doing what we are,” he said, describing the mix as having elegant, casual and funky elements.
While the downtown store carries such big brands as Calvin Klein, Fendi, Isaac Mizrahi, Todd Oldham and Sonia Rykiel, and small Italian designers like Mario Bologna and Vicini, the uptown spot sells Dolce & Gabbana and Costume National as well.
In addition, Erani isn’t shy about knockoffs for its own brand: “Copies of all the big names in addition to our own styles are easier on the wallet,” he said.
The 1,200-square-foot space at 399 West Broadway sports flowing draperies, cushy sofas, plants, Asian-inspired embellishments and a crowd as pretty as the room.

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