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Store perpetually reopens


Most stores change their window displays regularly. GrandOpening, located in Manhattan’s Lower East Side, completely reinvents its entire operation every three months. This winter, the 350-square-foot space housed an exhibit for a proposed eco-community a two-hour drive west of New York. Currently, GrandOpening is a ping-pong parlour, tapping into that sport’s growing popularity. The site’s lone table rents for USD 18 per hour. A webcam lets neighbourhood residents see if it’s free. The barebones room can also host private parties and tournaments. Simple as it may seem, GrandOpening’s perpetual makeovers have generated lots of buzz (we’re admittedly late to the party). New York Post writer Sara Lieberman labeled it a “conceptual space,” and the New York Observer noted that while the downtown address hardly matches Fifth Avenue’s allure, Grand Opening has gotten some enviable notoriety. No word on whether Pong, the current name for the storefront, has turned a profit or what GrandOpening’s next reincarnation will be. But Ben and Hall Smyth, the two brothers who founded it, earn a living from a related job: designing exhibits for museums and companies, work that takes place at the Grand Opening site even as players whack ping pong balls back and forth. Anyone thinking of copying the idea should be aware that each retail concept’s three-month lifespan could make it difficult to recoup the costs of refurbishing the space. A chain of stores could spread those costs around, of course. Store concepts might even be rotated from city to city. A similar concept could also offer large brands a unique opportunity to market new products, pop-up style. (The company is open to suggestions, stating “GrandOpening could be yours for a month, or two, or three.”) GrandOpening’s low-key approach might just satisfy a consumer need for intimate new experiences. Related: Restaurant to close and reopen every season. Spotted by: Susanna Haynie



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