Following a slow and steady build up at Twin Cities malls and the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, Hammer Made is ready to spread its wings—er, patterned shirt sleeves—to Chicago. The Minneapolis-based men’s retailer will open its first store beyond the Twin Cities at Old Orchard, one of the Chicago area’s top malls, just north of the city in Skokie. Signs go up this week; the store is expected to open in August.
“This next step is so critical,” says CEO and Founder Jason Hammerberg. Among the key factors in deciding where to go next: similar demographics, similar climate, and a place he could get to quickly. At Old Orchard, Hammer Made will be situated near lululemon and Hugo Boss, and Hammerberg says that feels perfect.
“My guy is 35 to 55. He’s living his life—not looking to be the next hipster.”
Hammerberg wants to take his time settling into a new city, and his new role of running a company with stores in two states. “This will probably be it for 2016,” he says. But if suburban Chicago takes to Hammermade’s colorful assortment of private label European dress shirts—priced to beat designer lines—expect more stores in 2017.
As for merchandise, shirts remain the heart and soul of the business, but Hammer Made continues to add small leather goods and is moving into cashmere sweaters for fall. None of this cashmere blend stuff, either. Says Hammerberg, "I'm talking about no holds bar cashmere!"