Celebrities and Roots go way back.
It seemed fitting that on the same day the Toronto-based lifestyle brand hosted a “cabin in the city” dinner at Soho House Chicago to celebrate its upcoming store opening in the Windy City, Sarah Jessica Parker posted a photo on Instagram wearing the brand’s signature salt-and-pepper sweatshirt.
Spanning 11,448 square feet, the two-floor store will open May 23 at 605 North Michigan Avenue and will offer a full scope of the brand’s offerings including men’s, women’s and children’s, in addition to its artisanal leather products and premium sweats.
It will be the largest Roots store to date and eighth U.S. store. Globally, the brand operates 114 stores in Canada, 117 in Taiwan and 37 in China.
Founded in 1973 by Michael Budman and Don Green, Roots may have a long history with celebrities — from Karl Lagerfeld, David Bowie and Richard Gere, who wore the leather footwear in “American Gigolo,” to Katy Perry, Pink, Drake and Parker, but it is now focused on America’s Midwest.
“With the many similarities between Chicago and Toronto, the Roots lifestyle resonates well with Chicagoans,” said Jim Gabel, president and chief executive officer of Roots, adding that Chicago is one of the brand’s top e-commerce markets. “They love city life, but feel deeply connected to nature and life outside, embracing a seemingly effortless look that is at home downtown or out-of-town.”
After securing the right location, opening in the spring was part of the strategy.
“Michigan Avenue is one of the top high street shopping locations in the world, which also attracts a tourist population from all over the United States,” Gabel said. “Further, launching in the spring will allow Chicagoans to get to know our brand and embrace our cabin-meets-city style ahead of fall and winter, the seasons we are best known for.”
Not only is Chicago the largest store, it’s the most immersive.
“The store showcases our distinct character, heritage and iconic products, each telling a unique story of the brand’s DNA,” Gabel said.
Immediately upon entering, guests will be greeted with a forest-like entryway, inspired by Algonquin Park, the birthplace of the brand. It will feature a Canadian “tree,” made from cedar, hemlock and pine.
Near the entrance, there is a Salt & Pepper Sweat Bar, a service bar where shoppers can order the brand’s salt-and-pepper sweats and embellish them with patches.
The store will offer a Leather Lounge, or leather workshop, featuring the brand’s Made in Canada leather goods. Here, shoppers can personalize their leather bag or jacket or even create a leather jacket — starting with the body, lining and sleeve color.
There will also be a 1,000-square-foot communal Rec Hall, for local musicians, entertainers and industry experts to host events. “Chicagoans can come together to be inspired, connect and create, and local entrepreneurs can even use the space as an incubator,” Gabel said.
On opening day, styling sessions will be offered with local style experts Ceta Walters of Clark and Stone, stylist BeBe Jones and Ali Stone of Those White Walls.