Bridges Gen­eral Rein­vents The Con­ve­nience Store

WWD Digital Daily - - The Reviews - BY DAVID MOIN

The shops source from health and well­ness-minded lo­cal mak­ers.

Call it an el­e­vated con­ve­nience shop, a cu­rated mi­cro-store, or a mod­ern­ized ver­sion of a news­stand with­out the news­pa­pers.

Bridges Gen­eral, a com­pact, grab-and-go for­mat best suited for lob­bies and the of­fice worker crowd, is ex­pand­ing quickly across Amer­ica. It fills a lot of daily, last-minute needs, sell­ing per­sonal care and beauty prod­ucts, travel ac­ces­sories, tech ac­ces­sories, cof­fee, well­ness and healthy snacks and bev­er­ages with­out the usual GMOs, chem­i­cals and ad­di­tives.

“It's the 2.0 of con­ve­nience stores. We are reimag­in­ing the fast-ca­sual con­ve­nience en­vi­ron­ments with a cu­rated as­sort­ment,” Aaron Bat­tista, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of Bridges Gen­eral, told WWD. “So many peo­ple spend most of their days in of­fice en­vi­ron­ments.”

There are seven Bridges Gen­eral shops, in New York and San Francisco; 20 are slated to open by year-end, and about 100 — from 300 to 1,000 square feet each — are ex­pected to be up and run­ning in 2020.

“We are look­ing at res­i­den­tial build­ings, ho­tels, hos­pi­tals, cruise ships, as well as of­fice build­ings, and avoid­ing higher-rent sit­u­a­tions like Grand Cen­tral Ter­mi­nal and West­field World Trade Ocu­lus,” Bat­tista said.

Asked if rolling out to 100 units by 2020 is am­bi­tious, Bat­tista replied, “Not re­ally. We have in­cred­i­ble ac­cess to a net­work of land­lords.” Dur­ing his 25-year re­tail ca­reer, Bat­tista has opened more than 700 stores, in­clud­ing Swatch, The Body Shop, Gucci, Lucky Brand, Seven For All Mankind, Vince and Rebecca Tay­lor. He also held top re­tail posts at Kell­wood Co. and VF Corp.'s con­tem­po­rary brand coali­tion.

Bridges Gen­eral is funded by Re­tail Worx, a two-and-a-half-year-old hold­ing com­pany, founded by ceo Jonathan Krieger. It has raised about $26 mil­lion to date to in­cu­bate, own, op­er­ate and scale up hos­pi­tal­ity, health, well­ness, fit­ness and re­tail brands. In ad­di­tion to Bridges Gen­eral, Re­tail Worx owns and op­er­ates the Taco Dumbo and Omakase restau­rants in Man­hat­tan, Blue­stone Lane cof­fee shops in dif­fer­ent parts of the coun­try, Ran­dolph Beer brew pubs and the 399 Lafayette event space in New York, plus the up­com­ing BIA fit­ness con­cept in NoLIta, which will in­clude a Bridges Gen­eral health bar.

In­ter­viewed at the 800-square-foot Bridges Gen­eral shop in the lobby of

110 Greene Street in SoHo, Bat­tista and Shu de Jong, chief brand of­fi­cer of Re­tail Worx, gave a run-through of the prod­ucts sold at the shop.

For­get about Diet Snap­ple and Chee­tos. Bridges Gen­eral of­fers rose­wa­ter from Gul­sha, Hu Kitchen choco­lates made with un­re­fined or­ganic co­conut sugar and no cane or re­fined sugar, emul­si­fiers, soy or dairy; Dirty Le­mon col­la­gen with char­coal fil­tered wa­ter, and Rise nitro cof­fee.

“The as­sort­ment is more cu­rated to peo­ple hav­ing healthy choices. We are re­ally in the nat­u­ral and or­ganic sec­tor,” said Bat­tista.

There are also on-the-go prod­ucts such as Eo de­odor­ant wipes and hand san­i­tiz­ers, C.O. Bigelow lip balms and fra­grances,

Bridges Gen­eral in

SoHo.

Aaron Bat­tista

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