Bonobos guideshop in Manhattan.
Popular e-commerce menswear brand Bonobos will open its first Twin Cities showroom in the North Loop before the end of the year.
Just don’t call it a store. Bonobos prefers "guideshop," in effort to evolve the bricks and mortar experience. The guideshop is a place to connect with the brand, learn how to pronounce it, and try on the entire collection of casual and tailored clothing. But you can’t take it home with you—not immediately (which can lead to some interesting face-to-face experiences). Orders are placed on iPads and shipped direct. No shopping bags. No storage room required for the company, which hopes to retain its online efficiency even as it scales.
Bonobos signed a lease in The Washington, a new development at the corner of Washington and 2nd Avenue North in Minneapolis—best known as home to Sex World. A downsized version of the neighborhood relic remains, while other retailers are being sought to round out the new building. The spot is just two blocks away from MartinPatrick 3, which only recently started carrying a big assortment of Bonobos apparel. Bonobos spokeswoman Erin Grant says she expects that relationship to continue. “It’s a great way for us to tap into the local market.” Bonobos is also sold at Nordstrom. Meanwhile, the brand that declared physical stores were dead when it launched in 2007 continues to open more guideshops—there are now 27 nationwide.
Bonobos has a mix of mall and street stores around the country. Grant says the company considered various Twin Cities’ locations before settling on the North Loop.
“We’re very excited about the neighborhood—we like cool areas, where people are coming to visit,” Grant says, adding that the data supported the decision.
“We’re a digitally native brand. We look at data smartly, and we know who is really demanding our product. Our customers wanted a store in Minneapolis.”