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Retail startups opening in SoHo



soho retail startups 0262Tons of retail startups have been opening up in SoHo in the past few years.Business Insider/Jessica Tyler

  • Allbirds recently opened its first flagship store in SoHo.
  • It’s the most recent of many e-commerce startups to open up in that neighborhood, including popular retail startups like Everlane and Casper
  • According to Nicole LaRusso, Director of Research & Analysis for CBRE Tri-State, there are a few reasons that brands keep choosing this neighborhood, from attracting the customers that they’re targeting to the dropping rent prices. 
  • We went to SoHo to see how prevalent this trend was for ourselves.



Allbirds, once an online-only shoe retailer known for making “the world’s most comfortable shoe,”  just opened up its first permanent flagship store in NYC. 

It isn’t the only store to do so. In the past year, it seems like more and more online-only stores have been opening up in downtown Manhattan. Retail startups like Everlane, Allbirds, Casper, and others which started as e-commerce only brands have been opening up their first physical retail stores in SoHo and the surrounding neighborhoods like NoHo and Nolita. 

“Being in the SoHo neighborhood makes our brand experience accessible to New Yorkers, and also to visitors from around the country and the world,” Allbirds told Business Insider. “Our first SoHo store was a concept store — it was meant as a learning opportunity for us and a way to interact with customers in our largest market.” 

The neighborhood tends to draw a lot of startups that are willing to invest more in their physical stores, according to Nicole LaRusso, Director of Research & Analysis for CBRE Tri-State. She explained to Business Insider that SoHo attracts sophisticated and thoughtful millennials that these brands are targeting. What’s more, the varied mix of brands in the area keeps the shopping experience interesting for customers. 

This wasn’t always the case. Between 2010-2014, there were countless empty storefronts in SoHo. Rents were high, and shoppers were starting to shift towards online shopping instead of shopping in physical stores. 

According to data CBRE shared with Business Insider, rents began to drop in early 2016, and e-commerce startups began filling the spaces either permanently or as pop-ups. In some cases, like with Everlane, stores will start out as a pop up shop, and if the shop is successful, the brand will move in permanently. 

We recently went shopping in SoHo, and saw how prevalent this trend was for ourselves:


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