Part community center, part retail shop, sportswear outfitters are scaling brick-and-mortar hubs to link brand to lifestyle.
What’s happening: Tracksmith, an independent performance running company, recently opened two new Trackhouse concept stores in Brooklyn and London.
Modeled after its original hub in Boston, the new sites aim to become “the cultural epicenter of the city’s running scene,” acting as a gathering place for local runners and run crews through event programming and training, free bag storage, and proximity to popular recreation areas.
According to Russ Ashford, Tracksmith’s director of retail, the purposely slow international rollout of its retail experience is about making a strong local connection with its clientele:
“We’re here to help people fall in love with running, and bring people together through running – having permanent homes in these cities is fundamental to that journey.”
Tracksmith is currently evaluating additional domestic and international sites and will return to host marathon pop-up shops in Chicago and Berlin this fall.
Community sells. With today’s consumer, loyalty is predicated by lifestyle — with athletes and everyday wearers identifying culturally with what they wear.
And, from technical running to fitness gear, global brands are pursuing retail operations that are more experience than merchandise.
- NOBULL is readying an experiential retail store in London with a functional fitness “testing ground” and a “town hall” for socializing and industry speakers.
- After opening its retail store in London last year, digitally native activewear brand Gymshark is pursuing more hubs that emphasize fitness classes and meetups.
- Nike is rapidly expanding its digital-meets-physical Rise concept stores, with its new Miami location featuring screens displaying city-specific data synced from Nike Run Club and Training apps.
- On designed its new London outpost as a “shoppable science museum,” with interactive storytelling of its products’ construction, along with an immersive try-on experience nodding to its Swiss Alps roots.
Punchline: Mixing vibe with tribe, making meaning on a city-by-city basis is the new playbook for performance wear.