A fashion retailer is collaborating with a bookseller and a coffee shop to create a differentiated retail experience, reports Julie Satow in The New York Times (10/16/13). Club Monaco‘s new flagship store in New York’s Flatiron district features "the first Manhattan outpost of Toby’s Estate Coffee … and a bookstore operated by the Strand." The Fifth Avenue store "will also include a 1920s haberdashery display … a conservatory with a barrel-vaulted ceiling, and decorative hints reminiscent of the retailing era when the neighborhood was known as Ladies’ Mile."
"We wanted to create a space where you don’t just come to buy a sweater, but are getting an education on art and culture," says Allison Greenberg, the retailer’s marketing director. "You can have a cup of coffee or sit in the library and read a great book that is relevant to the Flatiron district." She adds that the "bookstore and coffee shop are efforts ‘to bring our blog to life’." The concept also works well for Toby’s, according to co-owner Amber Jacobsen: "Here at Toby’s, we don’t want to be a chain retail store and we are not looking to replicate what we have in Brooklyn."
Toby’s Brooklyn store features "a roasting plant and a slow bar, where coffee is allowed to brew for several minutes before being poured." Club Monaco will offer the latter, but not the former. The Strand partnership will extend to Strand’s stores, which "will have 2,500 books jointly selected" with Club Monaco. Club Monaco is not alone among apparel retailers teaming up with "ancillary businesses" – Rag & Bone and Shinola are on a similar track. Real estate broker Robert Cohen says the concept signals that retailers are now more "willing to take bigger spaces" to do "something interesting to entice customers to go in.”