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It was about three years ago that Neighborhood Goods opened its first store, widely praised as being the "department store of the future," a place where direct-to-consumer brands that were native to the online environment were able to establish bricks-and-mortar beachheads from which they could sell their wares, learn from the experience, and create a foundation for growth.

There only have been three Neighborhood Goods stores opened to this point - one in Dallas, one in Manhattan, and one in Austin - and the pandemic did serve to inhibit the format's expansion plans.  Bloomberg writes that as co-founder/CEO Matt Alexander looks to regain momentum as the pandemic ends, one of the things he's doing is expanding to food brands, believing they will create "a lot of opportunity for everyone involved to really, as I say, socialize the product."

The product socialization strategy, the story suggests, is part of a broader focus on creating in-store events that will draw in shoppers - especially at a time when it isn't necessarily easy to attract customers to physical locations.  "We'd love to at least do two or three [events] a week. In our minds, there's this real opportunity—not just for us, but for everyone—in retail," Alexander tells Bloomberg.  "We see this being a really crucial aspect of what we can offer. There's a huge amount of opportunity ahead."

KC's View:

Just FYI … Matt Alexander was a guest on a Retail Tomorrow podcast that I did a little over a year ago (though it seems like a decade).  It remains, I think, an illuminating conversation … though none of us had any idea how our lives and work would be upended in just weeks.  We recorded it at Google’s New York City offices during the recent National Retail Federation (NRF) Show. 

You can access it here.