Sunday Safari Ft. Sumeet Shah
By Michal Edelman Tepper & Daniella Fischel On October 13, 2019
Sumeet Shah has an over 11-year career spanning the private equity, venture capital, and startup worlds, managing business development and partnerships for various sizes of consumer-facing organizations as well as investing in the the next generation of brands. He shares with us his five favorite stores in NYC!
In addition to having been involved in the consumer retail industry in various capacities for many years, Sumeet shares his takes on the industry on his twitter feed (PE_Feeds) and in his newsletter (Le Cinq). We always enjoy his insights in what can be a somewhat crowded space and are excited to see him put those insights into action at his new consumer retail venture capital firm, Swiftarc Ventures.
In addition to (or maybe because of) his professional experience and background, Sumeet has become a major sneaker lover and his Safari certainly reflects that. If knowing about the latest Nike drops or where to find and shop for sneakers in the most interesting environments sounds like something of interest, based on his Sunday Safari picks below, Sumeet is definitely your man.
We are excited to share Sumeet's Sunday Safari below!
1. NIKE LAB NYC
New York, NY | Website
"Nike's had such a major comeback in the past few years when it comes to streetwear; Adidas threatened their dominance a few years ago when it overtook Jordan on sneaker sales (I believe Jordan took it back), and the response has been nothing short of dominant by the Swoosh. My favorite result is their new "Innovation" focused store designs, epitomized by the NikeLab shop on 21 Mercer Street. It's a combination of how a major brand can create a boutique shop: some of the coolest immersive experiences (which seems to change every week), very friendly and welcoming staff, unique (and sometimes rare) kicks for sale that aren't upsold, and with unique events sprinkled in between. (That corner of Mercer and Howard has become a sneakerhead's paradise with Billionaire Boys Club, Palace, Stadium Goods, and NikeLab, and if I could, I'd wrap that whole corner into one shop experience due to the awesome street style you see on that spot.)"
2. ROUND TWO
New York, NY
"Continuing on the conversation around streetwear, the resale market has gotten a bit out of control to me. If you go to Flight Club or Stadium Goods, kicks are resold often at ridiculous multiples from the retail price. The NYC boutique sneaker shops (Concepts, Extra Butter, Alife, SneakersNStuff, Rare Pair, etc. - more on that below) have been a good middle ground, and while StockX and GOAT have been a great online equalizer (and a better pricing model at times), my favorite reseller is Round Two in the LES, hands-down.
Every time you come to the shop, the staff welcomes you with swagger and with a style in that they all just want to give you a big hug for coming in. You actually can try on some of the rarest sneakers (without having a store associate breathing down your neck, expecting you to buy them), and because they focus on the lightly worn pairs, customers can actually get real deals. Add to that their strong Instagram account (where they give away shoes almost every day via Stories) and you have a true democratization of the resale world (something the NYT also pointed out last year)."
3. EXTRA BUTTER
New York, NY | Website
"(I promise this is the last sneaker-related shop recommendation!) Boutique sneaker shops are unique in that they each have their own themes. While there are a lot of great ones in NYC (referring to the ones I mentioned above), Extra Butter is one of my favorites because of what else they do besides sneakers. Bernie Gross (the creative director) designed the space with a look and feel of a private movie theater, and alongside doing some really fun limited edition collaborations with various brands and stores (like Economy Candy most recently), they'll set up fun and inclusive events for product launches and DJ sessions (and even tattooing sneakers!). The kings of these events, though, are the Movie Nights (and the subsequent limited edition product drops they'll do), with the latest being for Wayne's World. (Yes, we re-watched the original!)"
4. UPSTATE STOCK
Brooklyn, New York | Website
"I live in a southern area of Williamsburg known as Los Sures ("The South," the center of the Puerto Rican and Dominican neighborhood) and it's been a night-and-day difference after 14 years in Manhattan, both for college and for my career. McCarren Park is a 10-15 minute walk away, and on the edge of the park is a quaint shop that, at first blush, feels quintessentially Brooklyn. (So do their other locations.) High ceilings and rustic overtones combine a vibe that immediately makes you feel more chill once you enter the shop, starting with their cafe (and some of the best matcha lattes I've had). In the back, you can get fun apothecary and candle products (that they make in their other location) along with great gifts for human friends and furry friends."
5. TODD SNYDER LIQUOR STORE
Brooklyn, New York | Website
"I've often semi-joked with my friends that if you need to outfit a guy with everything he needs, send him to the Todd Snyder store on Madison Avenue. The biggest reason I often do that is because Todd and his original team at J. Crew have been known for building the brand partnerships at the clothing brand with great complementary ones like Timex, Sperry, Barbour, Barracuda, etc. One other item he and his team created was the eponymous Liquor Store, a menswear shop in Tribeca that would send out new products to "test" with their loyal customers before a potential mainstream rollout.
With his new label (and parent company - American Eagle acquired TS in 2015), Todd acquired the Liquor Store this year once J. Crew closed it down, and he brings the same brand-heavy style into the fold. It's a fun shop to walk into and even just browse, from the season-ready anchor pieces to gorgeous vintage watches and home goods. Also, you'll often find Tremaine Romeo (a longtime staple in the fashion world, handling menswear departments for Louis Vuitton and J. Crew) working the bar area, so definitely go say hello, grab a finger of whisky, and get a story or two from him!"
If you don't already, follow us on Instagram @theretailsafari as we highlight some of our favorite brands and concepts and take you with us on our retail safaris in NYC and beyond.