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Creative Chelsea store is the spot to watch in 2012

Customers gather for a breakfast event.
Customers gather for a breakfast event.
Courtesy of A Startup Store

Boring boutiques or overhyped department stores are so 2011. Upgrade your retail experience this year by checking out A Startup Store beta, an exhibit in a revolutionary new space in Chelsea that promises to surprise and satisfy even the most jaded NYC shoppers.

The idea for this concept store comes from Rachel Shechtman, consultant and founder of Cube Ventures who can count big-name brands such as Gilt Groupe and the Gap as former clients.

“It has the point of view of magazine, changes like a gallery, and sells things like a store,” explains Shechtman of the space, which has a long-term lease but will be reinventing its interior exhibits every four to six weeks.

Like a start-up Internet site, the recently launched store is still in “beta,” though it is already open for shoppers to visit and enjoy. Its inaugural exhibit, A Startup Store, features products from six successful NYC-based online startups, including Baublebar, which offers chic, affordable jewelry, and Quirky, which provides creative products that promise to improve your daily life (think flexible power strips and touchscreen-friendly gloves).

Katia Beauchamp, co-founder of Birchbox, a site that offers customizable beauty sample subscriptions, loves the ability to meet old fans and find news ones through her spot in A Startup Store.

“I think it’s really fun to have people interacting with customers and discovering what Birchbox is,” says Beauchamp, adding, “Nothing can replace that actual face time that you get.”

This connection with customers is exactly what Shechtman envisioned. As a resident of the Chelsea neighborhood herself, Shechtman envisions the space going beyond retail to foster collaboration and community. Currently, the store offers events such as this Saturday’s afternoon of pampering, which includes mini makeovers and treats provided by Jouer and Birchbox. In the future, Shechtman hopes to also hold film screenings and book launches.

A Startup Store will be open through January 12, after which Shechtman promises a “surprise” exhibit leading up to the store’s official launch out of A Startup Store beta exhibition on February 1st. They will also then reveal the store's permanent name, which they have been waiting patiently for from the patent and trademark office. Appropriately for the month of Valentine’s Day, the store’s February exhibition will be themed LOVE.

To stay updated on the store’s ever-changing exhibits, visit astartupstore.com and sign up for their newsletter.

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