NEW YORK — After more than 20 years of being in business, Supreme’s Manhattan store was beginning to bust at the seams.
The streetwear brand had alleviated the lines and crowds with a new release system — customers no longer need to camp out as they put their name on a list and enter the store during a designated time slot — but demand for the product has continued to increase, which is why the team opted for a 3,000-square-foot store in Brooklyn at 152 Grand Street between Bedford Avenue and Berry Street. On Thursday morning, when the shop opened to the public, Mayor Bill De Blasio commemorated the occasion by cutting the ribbon, which was appropriately covered with the Supreme logo.
“The truth is we maxed out on the Manhattan space. We were at capacity,” said Angelo Baque, Supreme’s former brand director who started his own creative agency but still oversees art direction for the company. “We couldn’t serve any more customers or sell more items.”
The new, larger space follows Supreme’s retail formula: wooden fixtures, sparse merchandising that lines the perimeter of the store, a flat screen playing skate videos in the window and a couple of concrete blocks for seating. The store also features an indoor skate bowl, which Baque said would be open to skaters based on the manager’s discretion. Jefferson Pang, who left a 10-year stint at DC Shoes, is the shop manager. He most recently served as director of DC specialty sales.
While the shop isn’t on a retail-heavy block, it does sit across from Fool’s Gold, the independent record label and apparel brand that probably attracts customers of the same ilk — and it isn’t too far from Williamsburg’s central shopping areas.
“We wanted to have a store that was close enough to the city that wouldn’t inconvenience our Manhattan shoppers, but at the same time a bigger store with more of a skate element that’s very similar to the L.A. space,” said Baque, who added that it will carry the same merchandise that’s available in the SoHo location.
In addition to its Los Angeles outpost and two locations in New York, the brand operates shops in Paris and London, and six stores in Japan. Supreme product is also sold at select Dover Street Market locations.
Supreme has slowly built a strong brand by being extremely consistent and following the simple rules of supply and demand. While the brand is known for its collaborations with companies ranging from Playboy to The North Face, its partnership with Louis Vuitton was one of its largest rollouts, but according to Baque, that hasn’t changed how Supreme operates.
“It’s business as usual,” said Baque. “I think it opened us up to a different demographic; more of the Vuitton luxury customer. The customer that didn’t understand what we did or who we are, but now we are on their radar.”
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