Vibram is making another splash this year in concert with the 2012 Boston Marathon by opening their first ever retail store in the United States — in Boston on Newbury Street (They do have two international stores in Milan, Italy, and Spain, already). If you're not familiar with Boston and Newbury Street, it's the main drag for retail in the city with a long history of prestige associated with it.
Why would Vibram open up a store? What might their store have ... in store for visitors? Want a chance to win a pair of Vibrams? Read on!
First off, here's a street view of the location — you'll note that Newbury Street has a decidedly historical look to it — the brownstones there originated in the 19th century:
It looks like the location Vibram picked used to be occupied by shoe brand KangaROOS, which I'm proud to say were the first sneakers I ever had (around the age of four). KangaROOs were so-named because they had secret pockets in their uppers; you could stuff pennies in them as I recall. Now, the location will be occupied by a store with pockets for toes!
At the bottom of this post, you can read Vibram's official press release on the store opening. The Vibram store will officially open this Saturday at noon with a ribbon cutting attended by the Mayor of Boston.
Why would Vibram open a store? Vibram USA's CEO Tony Post explains, "With this store we can provide our customers with a face-to-face brand experience for the first time, educating them about the world of Vibram, our partners and our products." The flagship location will offer "experience zones" where you can walk on a variety of surfaces in different pairs of FiveFingers; speaking of different pairs of FiveFingers, the Vibram store will apparently have a few models on hand of FiveFingers that are only (presently) offered in Europe! How awesome is that?
When you get down to it, Vibram wants their store to be a "destination;" indeed, I can imagine taking a pilgrimage to the store if I happened to be in Boston travelling. It's less there to make a killing selling toe shoes and more to expand brand awareness around Vibram. Meanwhile, they'll be offering complimentary espresso to pay homage to the Italian roots of the company.
So speaking of a pilgrimage to Boston, it just so happens that I might be making it to this grand opening. Anyone else think they can attend? Events start at 11AM on Saturday (April 14, 2012)!
Vibram Press release below!
VIBRAM® OPENS FLAGSHIP FIVEFINGERS® RETAIL STORE IN BOSTON
SATURDAY APRIL 14, BOSTON MARATHON WEEKEND
Designed to Provide Visitors with an Enjoyable and Enlightening Brand Experience
CONCORD, Mass. Vibram, the worldwide leader in performance soles and pioneer of the minimalist footwear movement, will open its first retail location focused on brand awareness. The store will be on Newbury Street in Boston and will open Saturday, April 14. Mayor Menino will be attending the ribbon cutting at 12 p.m. and the grand opening will coincide with the Boston Marathon, complementing Vibram’s efforts as a supporter and exhibitor at the race.
“With this store we can provide our customers with a face-to-face brand experience for the first time, educating them about the world of Vibram, our partners and our products,” explained Tony Post, president and CEO of Vibram, USA.
Located in Concord, Mass., Vibram® is renowned globally for designing soles for outdoor, recreational, work and fashion footwear and is relied on by the world’ s greatest climbers and athletes. In 2006 Vibram introduced its first finished product: Vibram FiveFingers ®, a revolutionary and patented glove-styled shoe.
The flagship location will feature “experience zones” throughout the floor allowing visitors to wear test FiveFingers on inlaid marbles, woodchips, grass, stones and even a bumpy yellow safety strip used in the subway. The store will also display an interactive timeline area summarizing the company’s 70 year legacy in sole design. Throughout the space it will showcase partners’ product on a themed, rotating basis. A “living wall" of plants will discreetly mask the register area, creating a private checkout experience. The ambiance and vibe of the flagship store is a direct reflection of Vibram’s outdoor and Italian heritage, with natural materials, complimentary espresso and historic brand items. The space will offer select models of Vibram FiveFingers as well as a few models only sold in Europe.
“We consider this more of a destination than a store,” explained Post. “We want visitors to relax, explore and hopefully learn something about Vibram as a brand and a company. We also see it as a way to support our soling partners located on Newbury Street.”
Vibram® is recognized worldwide as the leader in high performance soles for outdoor, recreational, work and fashion footwear and is relied on by the world’ s greatest climbers and athletes. In 2006, Vibram introduced its first finished product: Vibram FiveFingers ®, a revolutionary and patented glove-styled shoe, an unrivaled alternative to conventional footwear. Recognizing the company’s pioneering efforts in minimalist footwear, Time magazine named Vibram FiveFingers one of the best inventions of 2007 in the category of health. The company is committed to promoting and confirming the health benefits of near barefoot or natural running and fitness training, and views this as a unique opportunity to help redefine athletic footwear. Vibram® soles have set the standard since Vitale Bramani created mountaineering’s first rubber lugged sole in the late 1930’s. Vibram® soles have gone on to conquer Mt. Everest, K2 and a host of the world’s tallest peaks. Today, the company works with premium brands including Danner, La Sportiva, Lowa, Merrell, Red Wing, Scarpa, The North Face, Timberland, Vasque, Wolverine and many more. Visit Vibram at vibram.com or vibramfivefingers.com.