tailor-made for Cool Streets; the stores use a
smaller urban footprint — typically in the
20,000 to 30,000 square foot (sf) range —
and require less parking than normal Whole
Foods locations. Much of its inventory
consists of internal brands, so Whole Foods
365’s price points are cheaper than what you
would find at namesake Whole Foods stores.
This is important because it connects with
one of the touchstones of the Millennial
consumer: frugality. Yet perhaps most
interesting of all is the fact that Whole Foods
365 stores will feature ever-changing pop-up
retail space in their stores and will consider
anything from vinyl record retailers to tattoo
parlors as temporary tenants.
Since debuting in 2011, Shinola has grown at
a rate of five or six new stores annually and
will close in on 30 locations by the end of
this year. This Detroit-based chain has been
one of the most active Cool Streets players
from Miami to Portland and beyond (the
company recently opened a London store
and are planning Canadian boutiques as
well). Boutiques typically range from 2,000
to 5,000 sf of space. But what exactly is the
concept? Shinola sells watches. It also sells
bicycles, leather goods, journals, and some
apparel. But Shinola is definitely not just a
watch or a bicycle or a leather goods store.
Shinola is a lifestyle store for Millennials.
As a group, Millennials seem to value
experience over material goods. In June
2016, MetLife released a report that analyzed
expenditure data from the U.S. Bureau of
Labor Statistics that found that Millennials
spend 15% more of their disposable income
on experiences than generations past.
Because of this, hard goods retailers must
find ways to create meaningful shopping
experiences if they want to truly engage
with the Millennial consumer.
At its most basic level, experiential retail is
about simply being interesting. This as where
many of the smaller chains and
independents active on the Cool Streets
have an advantage over their larger, less
nimble competitors. Smaller regional chains
such as Lizard Thicket or independents like
House of Woo find it easier to experiment
with their fall line and take chances than the
Abercrombies or Gaps or Ann Taylors.
Larger chains, particularly the publicly-traded
ones, are not only challenged by size and
scope, but also the necessity of answering to
an increasingly jittery Wall Street. Too often,
the result of these limitations is retailers with
shelves full of homogenous goods in
increasingly empty homogenous stores
situated in dying homogenous malls.
The irony in all of this is that by being too
conservative while navigating this new
challenging landscape of omnichannel retail,
brick-and-mortar retailers may actually
inadvertently drive their customers online by
simply being boring.
Cool Streets Report