Thank You Dallas For Keeping NYC Retail Afloat.

 

Dallas retailers are flocking to NYC – I don’t understand why, but I’m grateful!

 

Hudson Yards is chock-a-block with Dallas transplants.

Neiman Marcus, of course, but the real standouts are Conservatory and Forty Five Ten. These gorgeous stores occupy almost two entire floors at HY.

I also recently heard that another Dallas concept, Neighborhood Goods (which I previously wrote about) is coming to the Chelsea Market in the Meatpacking District this Fall. They’re taking space next to Anthropologie. It’ll be significantly smaller than the Dallas store but will also include a food component and a wide assortment of startup brands.

I’m curious as to why all these companies felt the need to flex their retail muscle in NY. I have no ready answers, but Texas is clearly in the midst of a creative and economic renaissance. Texas is also a top destination for millennials for its career opportunities. In other words, Texas is booming while NYC is not.

  • The Dallas and Houston metro areas each gained over 1,000,000 people since the 2010 Census.
  • New York, meanwhile, is losing people. Between July 2017 and July 2018, we lost 180,306 people and gained only 131,746 new residents. A difference of 48,560 abandoned New York — the biggest decrease of any state in the US.
  • Thank you, Bill de Blasio and Andrew Cuomo.

While on the Dallas theme, my friend, Sheila Patel, was invited to do an event with her start-up beauty brand, Graffiti Collective at the CANVAS Hotel,  In reading about it, I was reminded again of how frequently Dallas is now on my radar. And how fortunate we are that those Texans still find NYC worth investing in when our retail scene has become so lackluster.

 

See below for a recap of the phenomenal Dallas retail scene at Hudson Yards and the new Neighborhood Goods concept that will soon open in the Meatpacking District.

 

Dallas Shines At Hudson Yards

Here’s a recap (and an update) of what I previously wrote about the opening of Hudson Yards in March 2019.

The Dallas connection is strong

Not only because of Neiman Marcus, which started slow but has since found its groove with lots of Neiman shopping bag sightings these days when visiting HY).

But what knocked my socks off were two huge retail concepts both founded by Dallas entrepreneur and luxury pro, Brian Bolke.

 

 

One is The Conservatory, (above) the other, is Forty Five Ten (which he co-founded but has since sold). Both stores have enormous footprints on the first and fifth levels of Hudson Yards.

  • The Conservatory also has a relationship with Farfetch, which means they carry no inventory at their HY’s store. Everything you purchase gets shipped to you.
  • The store was designed by Dallas-based Droese Raney Architecture.

Forty Five Ten (below) has four separate stores, created in partnership with Snarkitecture. My favorite is their vintage shop, anchored by a Lars Fisk sculpture (pic lower left).

 

Neiman Marcus (below) while not my cup of tea has turned out to be a shoppers’ paradise because of their exceptional customer service.

 

 

NEIGHBORHOOD GOODS – next level pop-up retail

 

I initially wrote about the Dallas opening in November 2018. At that time, I was more smitten by this style of pop-up where brands are slotted in and out every few months. But having now experienced this firsthand at Showfields, I’m less enthusiastic. Nevertheless, this is what I wrote about it, and it sounds like the Chelsea Market version will be similar, albeit with a smaller footprint.

  • Neighborhood Goods is a new kind of shopping experience with brands that will rotate in and out; leases are short (a couple of months). Again, it sounds just like Showfields, and I think that store is a disaster!
  • Neighborhood Goods describes itself as a place for online-only brands to meet customers in the physical world. In Plano, they’ve featured more than 35 brands, including Rothy’s, Taschen, Stadium Goods, Buck Mason, Draper James, Primary and more.
  • Food, drink and places to hang out feature prominently.
  • The store’s app is a way to communicate with the staff, e.g., click on the “Bring it to me” button, and you can have a pair of jeans in your size brought to you at your table at a restaurant in the mall. But then what? Do you try the jeans on at the restaurant? Have you committed to buying when you do this? I have many questions.

To attract customers and encourage them to stay longer in the space, Neighborhood Goods:

  • Has a restaurant in partnership with a local culinary innovation lab. Their Chelsea location will also include a culinary component.
  • Holds daily event programming
  • Publishes a magazine and podcast

Neighborhood Goods features curated layouts and shorter leases to encourage experimentation:

  • The layout is designed to make each visit a narrative journey by placing similar brands next to each other.
  • Some areas will be based around a theme such as bedrooms, allowing multiple brands to share a single space with complementary products to enhance the overall display and benefit from brand adjacency.

 

Bottom Line.

I am fascinated by Dallas’ ability to outshine NYC when it comes to creating and delivering exceptional retail experiences.

If anybody has any insights on why all these Texas brands are hitting NYC, please let me know.

In the meantime, I will continue to track how the stores fare at Hudson Yards and how Neighborhood Goods works out versus the very similar, Showfields.

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