At the end of 2018, I closed my storefront, Storm Ritter Studio on 14 West 8th Street. It's taken over a year to tie up all loose ends from the close. The rollercoaster of plans to re-open or re-located downtown Manhattan was a whirlwind of stress and emotions. Bottom line, times have changed. Not that I didn't have abundant happy customers, consistent clients, positive work environment, and profitable sales, but retail just didn't work. Sometimes no matter hard you try you cant make something fit when the mold isn't right. How people shop isn't what it used to be. And NYC rent is a massive challenge--and honestly very unrealistic . The three years of my store on 8th street was manageable, but as time passed, I came to see how unrealistic standard retail shops have become. I am NOT saying that all retail shops are outdated or non-manageable, but in NYC, man it's a nutty ballgame. Especially now, physical businesses suffer, even if they seem like they are sustaining. Gentrification is a bitch!The challenges of elevated social norms and increase craving for technology make it devastatingly hard to keep your doors open. Fast and cheap! Uncool. Bleecker Street, for example, is known for being a strip to BE when you're shopping with your friends. In the past years, I've experienced that places come and go with a blink of an eye. And my shop on 8th wasn't any different. But that being said, it was pretty PUNK how I shut it down.
So the shop was two-stories, painted floor to ceiling. Emotionally I was sad to just leave, but I was VERY thankful to not have the immensely overwhelming 7-day a week lifestyle I was throwing down. Change was a'coming and thank god it did. Regardless, what did we do? We fucking took the walls with us. Maybe to prove a point to the landlord or just to be PUNK as hell, but that drywall was cut out of there and stored and sold. Maybe in the future when we are in an apocalyptic era, an Indian Jones type person could be scavenging through the ruins of New York and find stored chucks of painted drywall, you know holding the answers to the universe. That'll be the day.
And that's all she wrote! The house of cool is now painted all white selling iPhone fix-it glass. But that's how the cookie crumbles. Am I opening another store in NYC? I planned on it, but now, in these times, I am unsure. Always up to create a new, immersive experience, but let's see what the future holds for retail. In my opinion, it's a corporate move, yet many large businesses are shutting down their retail locations. Look at Barney's?! Wow, can't even get into that! Until we meet again.