08.12.2009 – New Balance has announced the opening of its first ever Experience Store in Beijing’s Qianmen Avenue. Celebrating the brand’s past, present and future, New Balance proudly showcases its century-long heritage to bring a completely new brand retail experience to life.
103 Years of Running Shoe Expertise… and Counting
It was 1906 in Boston – the city of marathons – when William J. Riley discovered, in his own backyard, that a chicken could use its three claws to maintain perfect balance. As a result, Riley was inspired to apply the balance principle to his design of the most advanced arch support system the world had ever seen. This new support system afforded more comfort and a better fit than ever before. It was this legendary story that was the humble beginning of what has evolved into today’s New Balance. Since then, New Balance has continued to passionately and diligently pursue the best quality and comfort in their products. This has resulted in an organization that today provides top-quality shoes, offering comfort across six different widths and two different heights. This spirit of professionalism and passion has accompanied the brand from the day it was founded 103 years ago, to its newest presence today, in Beijing, China.
A Brand New Retail Experience
The two-floor 2000+ square foot New Balance Experience Store is located in Beijing’s famous Qianmen Avenue. Qianmen Avenue is one of the most historical commercial streets in Beijing, with more than 500 years of history. That New Balance has chosen Qianmen Avenue as the location for its first ever Experience Store is no coincidence. In this new endeavor, New Balance continues to lead in innovation while remaining firmly rooted in the heritage of its past.
The first floor’s décor is inspired by New Balance’s heritage with a nostalgic feel harkening back to the 1950s and 60s. Using materials that are worn and textured, the store’s first level is dedicated to the brand’s rich history, complete with framed archival logos, vintage New Balance ads and various brand paraphernalia dating as far back as 1910.
A DNA ribbon which extends from the first floor entrance all the way to the second floor takes the consumer through a chronological journey documenting the brand’s rich past, present and future. The detail in the overall store design is further complimented by audio, visual and olfactory experiences throughout the store including the unique smell of oak reminiscent of a shoe store’s scent from the mid-20th century.
The environmental ambiance of the second floor is consistent with the first floor, paying homage to the brand’s signature grey while introducing the brand’s modern day technology-based offerings amidst an evolved red and grey color scheme.
Rob DeMartini, chief executive officer and president of New Balance states, “We are excited about this new store model that pays tribute to our heritage, celebrates our innovation and sets a new standard of retail excellence within the global marketplace. The New Balance Experience Store in Beijing allows consumers to engage with our rich brand story that is 103 years in the making.”
The New Balance Carnival
The grand opening of the world’s first ever New Balance experience store in Beijing is a landmark event in the company’s history.
On August 15th, its opening day, New Balance will be host to a 1960s-style American carnival along Beijing’s Qianmen Avenue. With the trappings of a real carnival, it will take up Qianmen Avenue with its games, gifts, balloons and carnival-style décor. Fun for the entire family, it will also have games related to New Balance’s running DNA, and include foot width measuring activities and treadmill challenges all communicating the idea of health and sport. In addition to different prizes, New Balance has also prepared 123 limited-edition T-shirts for guests. Also on display during the carnival will be classic New Balance shoes, each providing a window into the unique product created throughout the company’s history.
The grand opening of New Balance’s first Experience Store will be attended by the senior executives of the company, including Global CEO Rob T. DeMartini, Global Executive Vice President of International Alan Hed, Regional General Manager of Asia Pacific Darren Tucker, and China General Manager Michael Wellman. The New Balance Experience Store’s display of the brand’s past, present and future not only showcases the company’s authentic heritage and spirit but also demonstrates its determination towards reaching its goal of turning China into the brand’s second largest market, following the United States. New Balance has plans to open as many as 1,000 stores in China before 2012.
The Total Fit Campaign
During the period of the opening of the Qianmen Avenue experience store, New Balance will also be hosting their national “Total Fit Campaign”. The campaign is geared towards the Chinese market. In addition to helping highlight healthy running ideas and foot care concepts, the campaign will share inspiring stories of runners from around China. The company will also select 88 of the most inspiring runners – each with a story of their own – to take part in an international marathon in Hong Kong. They will also be holding a “6km Run” open for public participation in Nanjing and Hangzhou following its initial success in Shanghai.