A pop-up normally doesn’t last for four years, but the success of suit shop Pursuit kept the retailer in a South Campus Gateway storefront for longer than imagined. Now, Owner Nate DeMars is taking his quality, affordable mensware 9/10 of a mile down the street to 937 N. High St. in the heart of Short North.
“The inspiration for [the move] came around Christmas time – just watching the holiday shopping traffic down here and seeing how busy it was at that time of year,” DeMars says. That, coupled with the success of their Christmas sweater pop-ups in Columbus and especially at The Greene in Dayton (akin to Easton), where they opened with far less of an established network, led to some valuable insights.
“Being in a place where people come to shop, that store did just as well as the Columbus store,” DeMars notes. There was a definite benefit to being in a location where people already came to shop.
Leaving campus was bittersweet, but he couldn’t ignore how much the Short North neighborhood had continued to thrive and grow. DeMars sees it as a potential launchpad. Other businesses have honed their concept then expanded into new markets. If he can prove the Pursuit model in Short North, more locations could be next.
But for now, the expanded space, 1440 square feet versus the current 890, will allow DeMars to more fully express the concept of what he’s always wanted Pursuit to be. Permanent fixtures, more dressing rooms and a lounge space will take the store from pop-up feel to established retailer.
A more established consumer has also become a part of the Pursuit model, and another reason Short North was a great fit.
“Our audience has matured and developed as we’ve been growing,” DeMars says. “Our concept seemed to have evolved without even thinking about it more towards a young professional.”
As they establish their presence in the Short North DeMars expects to further build the young professional audience, while keeping the current customer base of a first-time suit buyer. Events like Gallery Hop will likely bring a new audience that might not have been familiar with the campus area past the storefront. Plus, major development projects planned on the surrounding blocks will bring an influx of young professionals.
The suit store also fills a niche in the neighborhood.
“There’s not many dedicated men’s options,” DeMars notes. And especially not any doing traditional suit and tie.
Realizing a Short North Pursuit has been several months in the making, and possible thanks to some local partnerships. DeMars worked with the Wood Companies (one of the most prevalent landlords in the area) to find just the right space. He says they weren’t just interested in finding him a space, but a storefront that would fit Pursuit’s vision.
DeMars has also been working with locally-based Heartland Bank. When it comes to small businesses, most banks look for collateral and a track record. Pursuit was initially a boot-strapped operation, but four years of growth and success have given the unique concept a proven track record.
DeMars is optimistically aiming for a soft launch or preview at July Gallery Hop and a fully executed vision by late July.
For more information, visit pursuityourself.com.
To read more about the new Pursuit CLICK HERE for the story on ColumbusUnderground.com.