Soccer.com experiments with a pop-up store this holiday season
Soccer.com, the Hillsborough-based online soccer retailer, is getting physical.
Driving the news: The soccer retailer — founded in 1984, first as a catalog called Eurosport then Soccer.com — is trying out a new brick-and-mortar store at the Streets of Southpoint in Durham this holiday season.
- The pop-up, located on Level 2 near the H&M, opened on Nov. 1 and is here through Jan. 7.
- It offers on-site jersey customization, so that shoppers can add names and numbers on them, whether that's Lionel Messi's or their own.
Why it matters: Sports Endeavors, Soccer.com's parent company, is one of the largest sports retailers in the country as well as one of the largest private employers in Orange County.
- But it still is looking for ways to make its brand stand out in a competitive marketplace.
The big picture Brick-and-mortar stores have become marketing tools, Axios Pro's Richard Collings reported, introducing shoppers to new brands and cultivating in-store experiences to entice customers to return.
- Many online native retailers have turned to physical retail locations as part of an effort to grow in recent years, including Warby Parker, Allbirds and even Amazon (to mixed results).
Details: Sports Endeavors has grown significantly over the years following soccer's emergence as a mainstream sport in the U.S.
- The company, which started as a high school project, now has around 700 employees, and while soccer is still its main focus it's expanded to other sports, too.
- Last year, the private-equity company Seawall Capital invested an undisclosed amount in the company, becoming its majority stakeholder.
What they're saying: Brian Berklich, Sports Endeavors' chief marketing officer, told Axios that while the company doesn't currently have plans to open a permanent retail location, it views the Southpoint store as an important experiment.
- "This is something new for us. E-commerce is the core of our brand," Berklich said, "but this pop-up made sense to showcase our brand in real life and reach new and existing customers alike."
Editor's note: This story has been corrected to reflect that this is not Soccer.com's first brick-and-mortar store.
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