- Traditional department stores are struggling to stay afloat as consumers increasingly turn toward e-commerce and foot traffic to malls declines.
- Neighborhood Goods, a trendy new marketplace that opened last week in Manhattan’s Chelsea Market, is attempting to subvert the retail status quo with its take on a “new type of department store.”
- “We wanted to test this thematic and communal approach to retail and provide a platform for younger companies that really wanted to dabble with popups,” founder Matt Alexander told Business Insider.
- We visited the store just a week after its official opening. Here’s what it’s like inside.
- Sign up for Business Insider’s retail newsletter, The Drive-Thru.
- Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.
Department stores may be on their deathbed, but the trendy curated marketplace concept is thriving.
Neighborhood Goods, a self-proclaimed “new type of department store,” officially opened its doors in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood last week, becoming the latest in a rapidly growing list of buzzy experiential retail stores across the country.
Embedded within Chelsea Market’s dizzying array of gourmet food vendors and retail boutiques, Neighborhood Goods features more than 40 brands in categories that range across apparel, beauty, home goods, pet products, and fitness. It’s the second location for the company, which first got its start in Plano, Texas, in November 2018.
Companies like Neighborhood Goods are increasingly serving as a blueprint for traditional retailers to start experimenting with their own popup concepts as they try to bolster dwindling foot traffic. Macy’s, for example, opened Story this year, dedicating a section of select stores to rotating themes of curated products, while Nordstrom recently integrated “pop-in” shops featuring DTC brands like Everlane and Glossier.
The arrival of Neighborhood Goods also comes just six months after the debut of Showfields, the gargantuan four-story retail space in Soho that features a rotating assortment of buzzy direct-to-consumer products. While both are similar in construction — with their Instagrammable aesthetics and shelves brimming with items made by up-and-coming brands — Neighborhood Goods delivers a more “communal” vibe, according to founder Matt Alexander.
“We wanted to test this thematic and communal approach to retail and provide a platform for younger companies that really wanted to dabble with popups,” Alexander told Business Insider.
We visited the store on a recent weekday morning, just a week after it opened. Here’s what it’s like inside.
Neighborhood Goods is located in Chelsea Market, a tourist hotbed of dining and retail experiences in the heart of Manhattan.
Shoppers can access the store both from 9th Avenue and from inside Chelsea Market itself.
We opted to come in through the inside, and found the entryway aglow.
As we wandered through the store, we found a robust skincare and beauty section.
There was even a sink for shoppers to test out the different products.
The section had a wide array of products …
… including ample offerings for men.
Scattered throughout the store were various wrapping stations featuring bags in a millennial pink hue.
The space itself was warmly lit and organized in an aesthetically pleasing and efficient manner that made it easy to browse from among the more than 40 featured brands.
“We wanted to test this thematic and communal approach to retail and provide a platform for some of these younger companies that really wanted to dabble with popups,” Alexander told Business Insider.
A view of the denim bar, lined with a smattering of candles from the hip brand Boy Smells.
There were several friendly sales associates milling about to answer questions and explain the Neighborhood Goods concept.
There was even a room for little ones, featuring clothing by The Tot.
We found a variety of buzzy direct-to-consumer apparel brands like DSTLD, Modern Citizen, and Mott & Bow.
The store has a specific hand-selected quality and thematic vibe that feels different from similar spaces in Manhattan, like Canal Street Market and Showfields, both located in what some fashion insiders refer to as “DTC alley.”
“So many of the brands we work with open popup and tests in Soho,” Alexander said. “They all do quite well and it’s an interesting area, but there’s a huge amount of vacancy. Landlords aren’t necessarily willing to have these brands sign longer term leases and the traffic’s a little bit turbulent, which poses some challenges.”
We also spotted this amazing jacket by The Arrivals.
Wood paneling throughout the store gave it somewhat of a rustic feel.
The store had a lot of spunk and whimsy in its product selection
The most well-known brand in Neighborhood Goods was Fossil, which featured celestial-themed jewelry and accessories on display.
It even featured a machine for customization and engraving …
… and, of course, its classic watches.
You’re not a true trendy marketplace until you have a Rothy’s shoe wall.
We were particularly drawn to this wall of UrbanStems plants toward the back of the store.
As we headed toward the exit, we stumbled upon a tutorial of Tonal, the nearly $4,000 high-tech, at-home workout machine.
Tonal employee Kristin Gambell walked us through the system and demonstrated the digitally connected exercises.
Beyond Tonal, we didn’t find any other tech products aside from this assortment of Master & Dynamic headphones.
Near the plant wall, we found a collection of Instagram famous Homesick candles, designed to smell like particular locations and states.
We were expecting the New York candle to smell like trash, but it was actually quite delightful.
For tuckered-out shoppers, there’s a couch to rest your weary bones.
Eventually our time came to bid farewell to Neighborhood Goods, though we plan to come back.
Next up, Neighborhood Goods plans to open up shop in Austin, Texas in 2020, with the potential for additional cities moving forward.
Subscribe to the newsletter news
We hate SPAM and promise to keep your email address safe