Retail

Never Stop Exploring ... The New North Face Store On Fifth Ave.

Thanks to The North Face and its new immersive, experience-centered stores, the rugged and outdoorsy now have a chance to get out and get active — from the safety of New York City's downtown.

North Face has opened the doors on a two-level, 20,000-square-foot flagship in the old Manufacturers Trust Company building and has decked it out to be what North Face’s VP of direct-to-consumer retail, Erik Searles, describes as a fully fitting backdrop for the high-end camping and climbing gear on display.

“This is our biggest full-price brick-and-mortar store outside of Chicago and Anchorage, and it is meant to showcase the North Face brand,” Searles said during a pre-opening tour he gave to Chain Store Age. “We expect people to walk into the store and experience how they will engage with North Face in the outdoors.”

So, how to get immersed in nature in the nation's most urban area? The store includes an interactive climbing wall, community seating and a custom embroidery service called “Lot, Stock and Barrel.”

“We have 20 designs we’ve created that can be sewn into the garment without compromising its functionality,” Searles said. “We want people to be able to customize the product, to go a little wild with it.”

Because the store is housed in a historic landmark, the ability to make changes was limited. To work around that situation, North Face designed the store as though it were housed in a natural setting and used it to display its gear as it would in the wild.

The second floor will feature a “base camp” patterned after the kind set up by top climbers and a “campsite” where visitors can relax with a cup of coffee and access Wi-Fi. Fitting rooms sit mid-floor and are constructed of pipe and the same fabric used in North Face tents.

“You’ll come up the escalator, and you’ll feel you’re in the outdoors,” Searles said.

To bring in North Face fanboys and girls, the new Summit Series merchandise line will premiere at the new New York flagship, as will various other high-profile releases going forward.

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