Brompton Bicycle is focusing on global retail expansion this year, officially entering the New York City market with a pop-up store on Bleecker Street. Based in London, the brand has launched 12 brick-and-mortar stores globally (plus an additional pop-up store with us in Amsterdam), and is looking to drive brand awareness and increase sales just in time for New York’s bike season.
We chatted with their VP of Marketing and Retail, Peter Yuskauskas, to discuss his plans for the NYC pop-up store, why this city search was unique, and the benefits of popping up in the right neighborhoods.
What was Brompton Bicycle’s goal in opening this pop-up store in New York?
We have worked with Storefront for our store in Amsterdam and love how flexible and straight forward a pop-up lease is. The site selection and negotiations are aided by Storefront the entire way. We opted for a pop-up store over a long-term lease in order to minimize our risk as we enter the NYC market (this is the 12th Brompton Junction store globally). Our primary goals were opening to be established in time for NYC’s bike season, beginning in April.
With the bulk of our existing business being concentrated in bicycle stores in the NYC metro area, we knew that our focus had to extend beyond the four walls of our new retail store and boost brand awareness throughout the area. For that reason, we created a campaign called “Take Back Transit” which plays our folding bicycle against the mounting frustration with transit delays and shutdowns in the area. With the L-train shutting down looming just about 1 year from us opening our doors, we saw the opportunity to interject our brand into a larger conversation around the future of how New Yorkers will move through the city.
Take us through the entire search process of this pop-up store.
We explored Midtown, SoHo and Nolita with Storefront, and took a number of locations through initial negotiations. Frustrated by rents beyond our budget or locations that didn’t seem to be the right fit, this space felt like it came out of a dream.
Large space, recognizable address, proximity to a corner, popular bike lane running in front, accordion doors, ample signage, full basement… this store seemed to have it all – but at a price that was double what we were able to spend. Since Storefront knew the real estate climate in the area, we put in an offer and..needless to say, we were able to reach an agreement.
Talk us through the Bleecker Street space a bit more.
In terms of displays, the space was delivered in white box condition. We worked with a company called Made In Place to design, build, and deliver the bulk of displays and fixtures within the store. Our timeline being quite compressed by this point, we’re building out the entire store in just about 1 week prior to opening. Product, thankfully, is close at hand in the NJ warehouse that serves our network of 130 bicycle retailers across the country.
How will you measure the success of this pop-up store?
Being a one year pop-up store, our store is positioned as a mix of sales and marketing. Our primary goal is an increase in brand awareness throughout the tri-state area. We will measure this digitally by tracking organic search for our brand keywords, social traffic and referrals, new users to our website, etc., and our real life metrics will be growth in members for our Brompton rider community, event attendance and revenue, and sales through our stores in the area.
What were some of the biggest challenges you faced?
Budget was huge, but also balancing our existing business with the spaces available. With bicycle stores selling our product throughout the city, we did not want to open up on the doorstep of any existing partners. This immediately crossed off some areas that were of huge interest to us.
What lessons have you learned so far?
Think neighborhoods and demographics first. Spend time in the areas you like to confirm your interest. Talk to store owners in the area. They’re often able to give incredible insight. Don’t settle for what looks good at first.
Try and meet the ownership of any space you like early and tell them your story about your brand, in a visual and interactive way. This helps them visualize your success in their space and may help you negotiate a better deal.
How did Storefront specifically collaborate with you throughout this process?
Storefront gave advice on neighborhood, demographics, success stories and cautionary tales. They introduced us to store owners and existing pop-up stores adjacent to spaces we looked at. They also guided us on approaching each space we identified as a potential candidate in the way that might lead to the best agreement with ownership. They were hands on throughout the process and their communication and follow through were essential to delivering this store on deadline.