Imagine a new department store with the hottest digital brands on one side, some innovative local startups in another corner, and a restaurant/bar front and center.
An app will work in conjunction with sensors to help customers navigate the store, get more information on a product, or get help from a real person.
Every few months the brands rotate, providing a fresh experience every time. There could be a podcast going on. Or a product launch or promotion. The latest technology, such as virtual reality and augmented reality, will be on hand.
All this in a 13,000-square-foot space that Dallas entrepreneur Matt Alexander calls Neighborhood Goods, a retail concept he founded along with Mark Masinter, president of Open Realty Advisors, in 2017. For him, this relatively small store is the future of department store retail.
Alexander is a veteran in the retail industry. He sold his e-commerce company, Edition Collective, to men’s retailer Q Fifty One in 2016. He and fellow Dallas entrepreneur Bryan DeLuca also launched a holiday pop-up retail store, Unbranded, in 2014, which Downtown Dallas Inc. took over management of last year. Masinter is no stranger to retail either. He’s been advising retailers and real estate developers for years on where to open up shops and according to The Dallas Morning News, he helped Apple navigate its foray into brick-and-mortar back in 2000.
NEIGHBORHOOD GOODS RAISES $5.7M
Thursday, the company announced a $5.75 million seed round that included backing from Maveron, CAA Ventures, Global Founders Capital, NextGen Venture Partners, and Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund. The company’s board of directors will include Alan P. Shor from The Retail Connection.
“We’re creating a new space for up and coming brands to have the opportunity to sell to a mass audience.”
“For us, the goal is to create really good reasons for people to come back that aren’t to do with the transaction,” Alexander said. “I don’t think anyone likes the feeling that they’re being sold to. We’re creating a new space for up and coming brands to have the opportunity to sell to a mass audience.”
Neighborhood Goods will be a place where people can hang out, eat, drink, and even work for a little while. The check-out will be self-guided.
FIRST STORE WILL BE IN PLANO
The startup will own the restaurant and the space itself and will host special events, podcasts, and other experiences. He anticipates having about 15 different brands in the store at a time.
Brands that want to be part of this retail revolution can visit Neighborhood Goods website to learn more.
“Consumers are clamoring for unique and memorable experiences, as much as they’re searching to uncover the newest and best products.”
Alexander said the startup’s current focus is on its first store in Plano, but it has aggressive expansion plans elsewhere in the country and in Dallas proper.
The goal is to remove the barriers to entry that keep digital brands from having a physical presence.
Like coworking spaces and incubators, Neighborhood Goods will be flexible with lease terms and might work out special deals where startups pay a percentage of sales rather than a fixed rent.
Alexander’s philosophy is that brick and mortar retail isn’t dead — but the traditional way it’s delivered has become mundane and stagnant.
“Consumers are clamoring for unique and memorable experiences, as much as they’re searching to uncover the newest and best products,” Alexander said. “Meanwhile, brands are motivated to explore and become more experimental with physical retail.”
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