The line separating retail and experience gets further smeared in a truly remarkable store called Pirch.
Founded in 2009, this California-based luxury home appliance shop has been in receipt of a whack of awards and honours (including Best New Prototype or Reinvention of a Prototype by Retail Traffic Magazine and Store Design of the Year by Retail Week Magazine, both in 2012) and is currently listed as number 25 on the 2015 Forbes list of America’s Most Promising Companies.
Such accolades celebrate the most remarkable thing about this place: that customers trolling its showroom for sinks and ranges will actually find on-the-floor samples that are installed and in working order.
And this defining feature is no more on splendid display than in the three-storey, 32,000-sq.-ft. store in Lower Manhattan, NY. This, the brand’s flagship shop is a grand, just-opened version of the eight “experiential showrooms” it already operates at high-end malls across the US.
Here, tire-kicking shoppers can actually fix themselves a gourmet ’za on a $15,000 Woodstone pizza oven to go with their gratis cappuccino with which the greeting barista equipped them on entry, take a soak in a $11,427 Kohler bathtub or have a private steam shower under a $5,000 Gessi ceiling-mounted showerhead (provided they’ve prebooked Sanctuary, the showroom’s own spa). Indeed, there are two full-size apartments here, each utterly equipped with everything from lighting fixtures to smart appliances.
And if you’re not so game for taking your own test drive, an on-site chef, in action whenever the store is open, will take the wheel, prepping all manner of delicacies in the full commercial kitchen. Shoppers feast on the results of his efforts at the store’s long curved counter.
“People just start pushing boxes of stainless steel at you — they don’t ask you how you live or how you entertain,” Pirch CEO and cofounder Jeffery Sears told The Washington Post last year of the rationale behind his game-changing venture. That some of Pirch’s shops are achieving sales greater than $3,000 per square foot — nudging them into Apple and Tiffany echelons — shows Pirch to be asking the right questions.