BKI Occupies ‘Dubious’ Bookstore; Next Up: Boston?

WestVillage3 BKI Occupies Dubious Bookstore; Next Up: Boston?
Changing Rooms: No more buddy booths at 500 Hudson

Artsy entreprenurial couple Vahap Avsar and Lexy Funk celebrated the opening of their newest Brooklyn Industries (BKI) store last night in Greenwich Village.

The founders of the burgeoning Williamsburg-based apparel and assessories line took pride in besting Starbucks in an apparent tenant-application competition to lease the 1,300-square-foot space, located at the corner of Hudson and Christopher Streets.

The site was formerly home to Christopher Street Books–a store of “dubious reputation,” according to the company’s press release–which closed in 2005.

Upon scouting the location, the new tenants took note of what they called “cubicles,” located in the back, among other clutter. “You couldn’t even see the space with all the piles of rubble,” said Ms. Funk. “It was a complete mess.”

Significant renovations were required of the century-old brick building, which suffered a structural “bulge” last year, prior to its orderly stocking of shelves with the company’s signature graphic tees and hoodies.

Company store designer William Harvey has since decorated the space in what BKI is calling “a late 1970s Fire Island vibe,” featuring many mirrors.

With its recent addition of a Chelsea store, the local answer to Diesel now boasts eight locations in Manhattan and Brooklyn but has no immediate plans for further expansion. “We’re built out for now,” said Mr. Avsar.

Yet the couple also spoke of future aspirations of opening locations near Union Square and the Upper West Side–and even expanding outside New York. “San Francisco would be perfect for us,” said Ms. Funk, adding, however, that closer markets Boston and Philadelphia were probably more feasible.

– Chris Shott

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