News of Carson Street’s abrupt closure came as a surprise, but the current retail environment has been difficult for big and small players. Here, three shop owners tell WWD why it’s so challenging to own and operate a men’s store in New York.
This story first appeared in the May 11, 2016 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
Opened: Six months
Biggest challenge: “Given that our shop is so new, the most challenging thing is spreading the word and getting customers to come out to visit us. We have to focus our efforts on generating organic, word-of-mouth knowledge about the store, and it becomes more important than ever that customers have a really memorable, rewarding experience.” — Emil Corsillo, co-owner 263 South 1st Street, Brooklyn, N.Y. 11211
FREEMANS SPORTING CLUB
Opened: 11 years
Profitable: “The end of 2015 was a bit tough on our bottom line as the warm weather caused a lot of retailers to start discounting heavily earlier than usual and we felt that we had to follow suit. We are launching a new made-to- order suiting program online that will greatly expand the geography of where we can offer our custom suiting and create a new price point.”
Biggest challenge: “We are different in the sense that we design and produce our own brand of clothing almost entirely in NYC. In addition to retail, we have a licensing partner in Japan so we began wholesaling the brand in 2015. The goal is to diversify our income streams and mitigate some of the risk inherent in retail. ” — Kent Kilroe, manag- ing director and co-owner. 8 Rivington Street New York, N.Y. 10002
Opened: Three years
Profitable: “Yes, with our various income streams that include a Man of the World retail store on the top level that features a tailored clothing business and e-com- merce. All of this contributes to Gentry’s rent.”
Biggest challenge: “There are so many things that have to be right for a retail store in a big city to be successful. There has to be the perfect product mix that’s unique enough that it doesn’t look like you could buy it at Uniqlo, but not so edgy that it ends up on the 70 percent off rack. We have to be really quick to iden- tify young, amazing brands and carry established brands and buy both with a timeless approach. What we plan to do is expand on the experiential side of the business. A hybrid model is the new retail model.” — Alan Maleh, owner, 108 North 7th Street, Brooklyn, N.Y. 11249