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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