Retail insights

Empire State of Mind: A Quick Tour of Manhattan’s Most Unique In-Store Experiences

new York city store tour

SweetIQ will embark on a bus tour to some of NYC’s best retail stores, galleries and more. Here’s our itinerary.

New York City is, without question, North America’s shopping mecca. So, when presented with the opportunity to tour some of the city’s top retail spaces, who in their right mind could turn down such a thing? No one, that’s who! In just a couple of weeks, SweetIQ will be hopping aboard a tour bus with the Retail Council of Canada, to make our way around to some of the Manhattan’s best retail stores, galleries and more.

We sought out locations for the tour that differentiated themselves by running great initiatives to wow customers and keep them coming back. We’ve included some well know electronic retail headquarters — you may have heard of Best Buy (60 West 23rd St.), HP (11 East 26th St.) and Sony (25 Madison Ave.) before — that are gong above and beyond the usual security-tagged shelves of wares to innovate in their space.

Best Buy, for example, is giving Amazon a run for its money with it’s larger than life vending-machine style wall, open 24/7, offering customers a quick, efficient and interaction-free way to buy exactly what they need. We’re also stopping by spaces that seamlessly incorporate art, cuisine and a whole lot of other surprises. As such, let’s take a moment to focus on the lesser-knowns of the bunch.


144 10th Ave. Why we love it: Imagine a store that’s constantly changing — not just adding new items to shelves and racks with each passing season, but rearranging the store’s entire theme, swapping out decor, colours and products like they were going out of style. That’s the idea behind STORY. Founder Rachel Shechtman opened the chameleon-like store in 2011 with the intention that, in the company’s words, it would “[take] the point of view of a magazine, [change] like a gallery and [sell] things like a store.” To tell you exactly what this store sells is tricky because its concepts are always a moving target, but therein lies the fun and imagination of it all. story New York city

2) Cadillac House

330 Hudson St. Why we love it: At first blush, something called “Cadillac House” would more likely conjure up images of a museum filled with vintage cars rather than a dedicated art space, but the latter is exactly what it is. While the vehicle manufacturer lends its name (and a few of its vehicles) to the space, the SoHo fixture features everything from a contemporary art gallery, to one of family-owned, NYC-based roaster Joe Coffee’s locations, to frequent pop-ups that allow artists on the rise to both showcase and sell their work. Cadillac House’s M.O. is to provide creative individuals an outlet for inspiration and there’s certainly no shortage of it there.

3) Reformation

23 Howard St. Why we love it: Reformation truly lives up to its name in the American fashion industry by working to — you guessed it — reform the way that stylish clothes are made. Their flagship store in SoHo is now one of many locations across the United States that sell the company’s garments, made using sustainable practices, sustainable materials and responsible manufacturing partners. At the heart of its concern for the environment, of course, are the amazing threads. Reformation’s speciality is vintage clothing, which puts it right at home in a trendy spot like New York City. Recently, the company has begun installing touchscreens in many of its locations, allowing customers to peruse its limited-edition collections with the greatest of ease — a feature you likely won’t find at many vintage clothing boutiques.

4) 3×1

15 Mercer St. Why we love it: Ever struggle to find just the right fitting pair of jeans? 3×1’s lone location on Mercer Street not only sells denim, but provides customers with the ability to have their own jeans made custom right there in-store — and you can even look through the glass to see how it’s done. The SoHo retailer boasts upwards of 800 different denim fabrics of various wash, feel and stiffness, as well as an on-site, 24-person team ready to put together a pair of pants that will fit like a glove (or something looser, perhaps, if that’s your thing).

5) Vandal

199 Bowery Why we love it: With a name like “Vandal,” it’s hardly surprising that this multifunctional space brings street culture indoors. One of the borough’s most popular new eateries, Vandal’s walls are adorned with graffiti and its tables are filled with inventive concoctions inspired by street food from around the world. The restaurant and lounge also plays host to both special one-off events and weekly events, including “Tag Tuesday,” a weekly party and dinner function featuring various DJs from around the city.

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