Bridges General Reinvents The Convenience Store
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,
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