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November 16, 2018

Dallas Morning News /
Neighborhood Goods takes a shot at the future of retailing at Plano's Legacy West

Neighborhood Goods is opening with 22 brands, including upstarts like tennis champion Serena Williams' leisure line.

A sign in Neighborhood Goods, a new concept store at Legacy West, in Plano on Nov. 16, 2018. (Anja Schlein / Special Contributor)

Retailing is on a mission to innovate and reinvent, and many of the ideas being tested are now under the same roof at Plano's Legacy West.

Neighborhood Goods, which opens Saturday, is a new kind of shopping experience with brands that will rotate in and out, leases as short as a couple of months and a place for online-only brands to meet customers in the physical world.

And, of course, there's food and drink and places to sit and ponder. The store's app explains everything and is a way to communicate with the staff. For example, click on the "Bring it to me" button and you can have a pair of jeans in your size brought to you at your table at the Prim & Proper restaurant that anchors the middle of the 14,000-square-foot space.

Neighborhood Goods is opening with 22 brands occupying various size spaces from tennis champion Serena Williams' new leisure apparel brand called Serena to Reese Witherspoon's Draper James.

Stadium Goods, a sneaker and streetwear brand from New York with a strong following, is expected to draw lines out the door with collectible sneaker drops and frequent new product releases, said Matt Alexander, a Dallas entrepreneur with fashion and retail experience who co-created Neighborhood Goods with Mark Masinter, a Dallas-based retail leasing consultant to developers and retailers.

They picked Plano's new $3.2 billion, 255-acre Legacy West mixed use development for the first Neighborhood Goods location. Masinter is a partner in the group led by Fehmi Karahan who developed Legacy West, and he was responsible for leasing its 425,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space.

Many of the store's brands are testing the brick-and-mortar world for the first time, such as New York-based children's apparel brand Primary, a men's wellness personal care brand called hims and contact lens maker Hubble.

One of the sitting areas in Neighborhood Goods, a new concept store at Legacy West, in Plano on Nov. 16, 2018. (Anja Schlein / Special Contributor)

Neighborhood Goods already has a lot of connections. It's been embraced by venture capitalists who fund consumer product startups. Neighborhood Goods has received $5.75 million in funding from a group led by Forerunner Ventures. Forerunner has also invested in Draper James, Stadium Goods and hims.

A national launch party for a new men's fragrance from Dollar Shave Club will be there. Dollar Shave Club's founder Michael Dubin is one of the store's investors.

Neighborhood Goods had planned to open one store next year, Alexander said, but he's already seeing strong interest from other developers looking for something new to add to their tenant mix. That could lead to four or five store openings next year.

Demand is also coming from emerging brands.

After the success of digital brands Warby Parker and Bonobos with stores, most digital brands get to the point where in order to grow they need to meet customers in stores, Alexander said.

Mall developers Macerich, Simon Property Group and Washington Prime Group are working on plans for pop-up spaces that will allow for experimentation.

"These new concepts are going to succeed if they're led by great merchants the same way that Stanley Marcus or Marshall Field built stores years ago," said David Weiss, partner at Chicago-based McMillan

DooLittle. "They need someone who will pull it all together."

The store plans "to move at the speed of a startup," Alexander said. Neighborhood Goods' lease is five pages versus a typical 80 page mall rental agreement and departure terms have been simplified.

Rent is a fixed monthly fee and a percentage of sales. For that, the brand shops are staffed and built with proprietary modular fixtures.

Prim and Proper coasters on a bar of Neighborhood Goods, a new concept store at Legacy West, in Plano on Nov. 16, 2018. (Anja Schlein / Special Contributor)

Dallas-based Droese Raney Architecture Inc. project designer Madison Dahl created the components that are as tall as 22-feet for the store's high ceilings and can be modified to accommodate any size shop. The fixtures include dressing rooms, shelves and sign panels, giving the total space continuity and each brand its own presence.

The store is for all ages, Alexander said, but is targeting upscale millennials who work in Legacy West and surrounding corporate campuses. The Prim & Proper restaurant was developed by Dallas-based Front Burner Restaurants, which also operates popular brands like Whiskey Cake Kitchen & Bar, Velvet Taco, Mexican Sugar and Sixty Vines.

Store hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and noon to 8 p.m. Sunday.

Tennis champion Serena Williams posted this Instagram Story on Friday Nov. 16, 2018, She was photographed on Wednesday, Nov. 14 while getting her shop ready inside Neighborhood Goods. The store opens on Nov. 17, 2018 in Plano's Legacy West.

Written by: Maria Halkias
Originally posted in Dallas Morning News.