Sin­gle-Prod­uct Stores

DOUGH­NUTS, ECLAIRS, TRUFFLE, POP­CORN: ALL AROUND THE WORLD, CON­CEPT STORES SELL­ING JUST ONE KIND OF MER­CHAN­DISE ARE SUD­DENLY ALL THE RAGE. "SIN­GLE-PROD­UCT" STORES PROMIS­ING "MUL­TI­PLE TASTE SEN­SA­TIONS". WE TAKE A CLOSER LOOK AT A PHE­NOM­E­NON GUAR­AN­TEED TO T

The Pullman Magazine - - Styles - TEXT VALÉRIE DEFOURNIER-SMITH

We're in the Pub­lic Mar­ket district of Bos­ton, where crowds have gath­ered out­side a tiny shop, one of the most pop­u­lar in the city. Peo­ple flock from far and wide just to get their hands on its dough­nuts. But these aren't your av­er­age dough­nut – they're Union Square Donuts. What makes them so spe­cial, you may ask? They come in 1001 dif­fer­ent va­ri­eties. This con­cept store has given the hum­ble dough­nut a res­o­lutely gourmet spin, com­ing up with some pretty as­ton­ish­ing flavours: hi­bis­cus-cherry, choco­lat­e­chipo­tle and even a savoury cre­ation: maple-ba­con. In the USA, spe­cial­ist dough­nut stores are a run­away suc­cess. They go by the name of Black­bird Dough­nuts or Kane's Donuts, each more en­tic­ing than the next. Yet this Amer­i­can­born phe­nom­e­non, known as a “sin­gle-prod­uct strat­egy” in

speak, is by no means re­stricted to Bos­ton – it has spread its wings and gone global.

The ba­sic prin­ci­ple is sim­ple: con­cen­trate on just one type of prod­uct, but roll-out end­less ver­sions. It is a trend that cap­tures the imag­i­na­tions of fear­less en­trepreneurs, who in­vest ev­ery­thing they have in a sin­gle niche mar­ket, then pro­ceed to adopt a dif­fer­en­ti­a­tion and seg­men­ta­tion strat­egy to make their busi­nesses more com­pet­i­tive. In to­day's hy­per-con­nected world, where the choice can at times be over­whelm­ing, con­sumers who yearn for a unique ex­pe­ri­ence and a cer­tain level of ex­per­tise find ex­actly that.

AN AMER­I­CAN-BORN PHE­NOM­E­NON

But for this new kind of con­sumer, ev­ery last de­tail counts. Take, for ex­am­ple, Georgetown Cup­cakes based in Wash­ing­ton, DC. There, the mini-patis­series that have re­cently be­come so fash­ion­able are dressed up to the nines. The stun­ning se­lec­tion of colours and flavours is truly a sight to be­hold, de­light­ing sweet-toothed food­ies who were pre­vi­ously con­vinced they'd al­ready seen and tasted ev­ery­thing… The sin­gle-prod­uct con­cept knows no lim­its, no bounds.

In the Brazil­ian metropo­lis of Sao Paulo, it's the “brigadeiro” that's cur­rently flavour of the month. This lus­cious lit­tle ball made from choco­late and con­densed milk, Brazil's best-loved del­i­cacy, even boasts its very own store, “A Bri­gade­ria”, where no fewer than 30 dif­fer­ent flavours line the shelves tempt­ing dis­cern­ing taste buds: cheese­cake, or­ange, ma­cadamia, cachaça liqueur, cin­na­mon... De­mand has, in fact, be­come so great that ad­di­tional out­lets have been opened in other parts of Sao Paulo.

An­other style, an­other con­ti­nent – Europe, where the ce­re­als of our youth are tempt­ing taste buds a sec­ond time around in the world's first ever ce­real bar, the Ce­real Killer, based in Lon­don. The venue stocks no less than 120 types of ce­real, in­clud­ing Amer­i­can, French and Span­ish brands and even some Aus­tralian break­fast clas­sics.

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