First Look: The North Face sets up camp in Manhattan — other locations to follow
The North Face will update its store fleet with a new retail concept that reflects its outdoor and sustainable ethos.
Located in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood, the 8,000-sq.-ft. outpost is part store, part base camp and part archive. It is designed as the ultimate embodiment of the brand's DNA in a physical location and will serve as the model for updating the majority of The North Face’s existing locations by the end of 2024. Among the first locations to be refreshed will be stores in Seattle and Cherry Hill, New Jersey.
Through its refreshed retail strategy, the retailer said it will transform its existing locations into “basecamps for exploration” as it looks to create a stronger connection with consumers and evolve The North Face retail environment to a space that feels more like the brand and less like a store.
"Our stores will continue to offer a convenient and seamless shopping experience, but it is no longer the sole mission of the store," said Mark Parker, VP of direct to consumer, The North Face, a division of VF Outdoor. "We're now focused on creating an environment that highlights our heritage and allows consumers to deeply connect with the brand as they prepare for their own exploration, wherever it may be."
The North Face said it set out to design a store as premium, long-lasting and sustainably built as the products it creates. Similar to the SoHo location, all new stores moving forward will feature Forest Stewardship Council-certified reclaimed wood, steel, granite and low VOC paints. The environments will be purposefully designed for longevity and to avoid the need for wasteful refurbishing throughout the years.
The retailer’sheritage and values take center stage on the main level of The North Face’s new environment. Elements include a museum-like archive of The North Face athlete expeditions and a signature Half Dome scent that will instantly transport customers to the outdoors. Glass cases display products used by some of the brand’s sponsored athletes, including the duffel bag used by mountaineer Conrad Anker who has climbed Mount Everest three times. Customers can pick up (and temporarily store) online orders in lockers that are located behind the cash wrap.
The rear of the main level is dedicated to The North Face’s most signature category: outerwear. The jackets are displayed around an experiential “campfire” area where sales associates (“guides”) are available to offer product and trip recommendations tailed to local adventures.
Different collections of merchandise are highlighted in dedicated departments.Footwear, a dedicated women’s department and gear such as tents are featured on the lower level.
The store will offer an array of special events, including product launches, speaker series and screenings of its outdoor films.