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Hot New Retailers – Present and Future


Consumer and retail account for more than 20% of the U.S. economy. With the maturing of Millennials’ financial situation and innovations in shopping and retail, new brands and stores are debuting in every consumer category. This is really something to crow about since pundits have been writing about the demise of bricks and mortar for the last several years.

Last year, consumer and retail entrepreneurs selected winners from the CircleUp selection of nominees (CircleUp has an online platform for investors and consumer product and retail startups). The choices were based on companies defying convention, giving new life to stale consumer industries, and inventing new ones.

Among the retail winners was Shinola, which is based in Michigan and manufactures a wide variety of luxury goods, from $1,000 watches to $125 dog leashes. Its products are available online, in fashion retailers and in their own stores. Consumers apparently relate to this “underdog” brand, as seen by its $80 million in sales over its first 18 months of production. The founder of Shinola, Tom Kartsotis, took the name, buying the rights from the former shoe-polish company, and set up shop in Detroit. He also founded Fossil Group.

Though they’ve been around for over 15 years, Stumptown in Portland, Ore., is another specialty coffee company, which pioneered innovations in cold brew.  Catching on with the elite coffee crowd, it has now spread to Seattle, Los Angeles and New York. It generates approximately $40 million in annual revenue from cafes, bottled coffee and online sales.

This restaurant deserves to be included, since its quick spread throughout California has resulted in many jobs and happy customers. Tender Greens, based in Culver City, provides farm-to-table dishes at reasonable prices in a fast, casual setting. Average sales per restaurant is over $3 million annually.

Another food retailer that’s going gangbusters is Smashburger, out of Denver. It generates more than $250 million from over 300 locations in 32 states and five countries. Its method is based on “smashing” beef patties to order (which sears better) and offering craft beers indigenous to each locale. It’s also the fastest growing fast-food restaurant ever.

“Chain Store Age” pointed to other up-and-coming retailers that are making a difference:

Adore Me is giving Victoria’s Secret a run for its money. This online retailer focuses on younger women with affordable prices and wide variety of styles. Plus it offers a curated personalized shopping experience. It caters to customers’ specific size and style preferences. In 2015, it had grown over three years a whopping 15,606%! Adore Me is currently testing the brick-and-mortar waters by opening a store in its Manhattan headquarters (by appointment only).

Duluth Trading, known for its creative cartoonish ads featuring Buck Naked underwear and Longtail Tees that prevent “plumber’s butt,” has been expanding its base beyond Minnesota for a few years. It often searches for historic buildings in downtowns. The stores are engaging and entertaining and each one has a theme portraying photos and objects that honor “hardworking” men and women, past and present. Aiming to have 100 stores, Duluth Trading, which opened its first store in 2010, describes itself as a lifestyle work-wear brand for the modern, self-reliant American. Their first-quarter debut as a public company last year boded well, as sales increased nearly 30%.

Flying Tiger has been described as the “IKEA of Junk.” Enjoying tremendous success in Europe and Japan, it’s about to open a second store in Manhattan. It provides an entertaining in-store experience and the shopping pattern follows a colorful maze of aisles and items, most of which are made in-house and retail for less than $15. From whimsical wastebaskets, to decorative wall-hangers and ceramics, the company’s success is in its IKEA-like accessibility. Flying Tiger’s CEO claims that by 2020, it will reach 1,500 stores, in Europe, Asia and the U.S.

TAGS: retail, retail trends, retailers,
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