Chain Store Age is proud to announce the winners of its Breakout Retailers Awards of 2020.
The annual awards, selected by the editorial board of Chain Store Age, honor retail, restaurant and specialty concepts that are innovative in their category and show strong potential for growth. Past winners include Warby Parker, b8ta, Sweetgreen, UNTUCKit, Indochino and Orangetheory Fitness to name a few.
“Retailers have to go the extra mile to stand out in today’s highly competitive and disrupted marketplace,” said Marianne Wilson, editor-in-chief, Chain Store Age. “In their own unique way, each of the five winning brands has done just that. Although the companies are widely diverse, they share an ability to engage and delight customers, online, in-store or both.”
The class of 2020 features five forward-thinking brands that are redefining their industry segments. The companies, listed below, will be honored at Chain Store Age’s annual SPECS Show (March 15-17 at the Gaylord Texan, Dallas) and will share their success stories during a special session at the conference.
Chicken Salad Chick
From one small location in 2008, this Southern-styled eatery has evolved into one of the nation’s fastest-growing fast-casual restaurant chains. Chicken Salad Chick’s menu features more than a dozen different varieties of chicken salad — each made fresh daily and ordered by the scoop, sandwich or bowl — along with other items. Its restaurants have a home-like, friendly feel, complete with tablecloths and carpet.
Chicken Salad Chick opened 40 locations in 2019 and it’s not slowing down anytime soon. The company is expanding beyond its Southern home base and plans to open more than 50 locations this year, with a goal of 400 units by 2025.
This digitally native retailer, which calls itself “abnormal beauty company,” is part of an increasingly popular movement advocating authenticity and full-ingredient transparency in beauty — both of which have part of its DNA since it was founded in 2013.
With six brands in its portfolio, Deciem challenges beauty convention with clinical-grade ingredients, lab-like packaging, budget-friendly prices and streamlined stores with inclusive messages. The company operates about 50 stores and also has partnerships with specialty retailers, such as Ulta Beauty.
With its colorful store interiors and exclusive frames, Eyebobs is looking to disrupt the mostly bland eyewear shopping experience that still dominates the nation’s malls and strip centers. An emphasis on affordable pricing and personal service enhances the brand’s appeal.
Founded in 2001 as a wholesale company selling readers, Eyebobs moved into prescription eyewear in 2017 and into brick-and-mortar retail in 2018. Customer service is central to the Eyebobs experience. Store associates go beyond face shapes in advising customers on frames, working with them to help select the frame that best reflects their personality.
A Dallas start-up is a pioneer of a new retail model, one that seeks to reinvent the department store for the digital age. Neighborhood Goods launched in 2018 with a 14,000-sq.-ft. store that features a mix of rotating brands — many of them new to brick-and-mortar — along with programming, services and social experiences.
The retailer offers a variety of leasing and space options that makes it easy for emerging brands to set up shop in the physical space without taking on the costs and complexities of opening their own store. Some brands pay a flat fee to Neighborhood Goods for a space, while others partner with the company on a rev-share basis. A majority operate on a mix of the two. With two stores under its belt and a third about to open, Neighborhood Goods is already looking at additional locations.
Outdoor Voices makes fitness apparel from technical fabrics for folks who enjoy physical activity and getting outdoors— but aren’t necessarily interested in rigorous training or competition. Founded in 2014, the activewear company’s positioning is best summed up by its tagline: #DoingThings.
More than just a place to sell products, Outdoor Voices stores (11 in all) seek to build brand engagement and community, with a full schedule of events, from hikes to “dog jogs.” No two stores are exactly alike, but each blend the online and offline, and offer plenty of Instagramable moments amid a welcoming environment.
The 2020 Breakout Retailer Awards are sponsored by the architecture and engineering firm HFA.