A hot online sneaker brand that banks on classic styles is opening its first store

  • Online sneaker brand Greats is opening its first store.
  • It will be located in Venice, California.
  • The full range of Greats styles will be available, as well as some exclusives.

For the nearly four-year-old sneaker brand Greats, it wasn’t about whether it wanted to open stores to complement online sales, but when.

“Frankly, we intended to open stores a bit sooner,” Ryan Babenzien, the company’s founder and CEO, said to Business Insider.

A primarily online brand that sells luxury sneakers in vintage-inspired and classic silhouettes, Greats will open its first brick-and-mortar store in Venice, California, on February 16.

The new store is located on Abbot Kinney Boulevard in the heart of Venice’s shopping district, where the stores of other e-commerce brands and local shops can also be found. The space was formerly a Roots store and is a small beach cottage that dates back to the 1920s.

Babenzien called it “the perfect place for the brand.” Though New York is Greats’ biggest market, Los Angeles is a close second.

Greats has done pop-up shops and runs a showroom out of its Brooklyn, New York office, but the Venice store will be its first permanent location. The brand also has a partnership with Nordstrom and is carried in some stores.

The full range of sneakers will be available for purchase, and a collection of store-only merchandise is planned. The store will also serve crucial customer-service functions like returns, but will also serve an important showroom function for the brand.

“[You] can’t take away the value of touching and feeling and trying things on,” Babenzien said. “You can’t replace that digitally.”

As far as any unique events that might go on inside, Babenzien was purposefully mum. But, he promises it won’t be boring.

“Being our first store, we’re going to treat it as experimental box and be nimble in the way we are online,” he said. “The way it opens may not be the way it feels in six months or 12 months.”

Greats has been selling sneakers since 2014, and it sold its 100,000th pair in 2016. The company was on track for profitability as of 2017, according to Babenzien.

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