Retail’s ever-changing narrative continues with a new tale. In 2018, the storied department store chain Macy’s (Cincinnati) acquired Story (New York), an innovative retail approach structured on the concept of a monthly periodical. Like a magazine, every edition is a new issue with new imagery, stories, products and themes.
Originally created in 2011 (and named 2018’s VMSD/Peter Glen Retailer of the Year) by Rachel Shechtman in a small retail space in the Chelsea area of Manhattan, the strategy called for a total change out of the store every eight weeks.
With Shechtman currently on board as Macy’s Brand Experience Officer, the historic retailer launched the Story concept across 36 stores in its portfolio, including its Herald Square flagship in Manhattan this past May. The intent is to add an element of fun to the environment in an effort to attract customers into the store. In an exclusive interview with VMSD, Shechtman said, “It’s less about utility, but rather about what can bring a smile to your face.”
The opening theme for all stores across the country was “A Color Story.” Every gesture, from the merchandise to the surface treatments, signage and lighting, were reflective of that theme. The average size of each installation was 1500 square feet, for a cumulative main floor footprint across the locations of 55,000 square feet. Partnering with David Stark, long-time Story collaborator and award-winning designer, and a roster of vendors including MAC Cosmetics, Crayola and Levi Kids, the Macy’s team was able to successfully integrate the concept into its large-scale department store format.
At Herald Square, the Story installation occupies 7500 square feet of prime retail real estate. Bursting with a rainbow of color, the shop includes faux fur columns and colorful carpet tiles arranged in a custom pixelated pattern.
A splash of color on the ceiling over the escalator leading to the Story installation serves as a portal to the space. “This is a fun and immersive experience,” Stark says. “A place not just for shopping but to spend time in.”
More than 400 products are featured in each color Story installation, including customizable kid’s denim jackets by Levi’s, colorful Crayola socks and a rainbow of reusable straws. The carefully curated assortment also features unusual products such as a bright red lipstick-shaped phone charger, a pizza cutter in the shape of a bicycle, and a bicycle repair kit in a bright red metallic box. All are celebrations of the inaugural theme color.
“The store is a narrative,” Shechtman concludes. “The goal is to create transactional memories that don't fit into a shopping bag.”
Story, New York
David Stark Design and Production, New York
General Electric, East Cleveland, Ohio
[Photography: Courtesy of Macy's, Cincinnati]