If Urban Outfitters’ first concept store, Space 15 Twenty in Los Angeles is any indication of successful hybridization between retail, arts, events, and food – the company’s acquisition yesterday of six Vetri Family restaurants (the flagship, Vetri, was excluded) yesterday for under $20 million suggests that experiential concepts that incubate socialization are profitable and sustainable mashups.
Vetri Family joins Anthropologie, Terrain, Free People and Urban Outfitters under the subsidiary of Urban Outfitters Inc. as culinary partners charged with blending the barriers between retail and food in existing café locations while increasing the portfolio of restaurants in lifestyle villages like Space 15 Twenty nationally. All current food and beverage brands will be folded into and managed by the Vetri Family. The acquisition comes with plenty of street-cred: Chef and founder Marc Vetri, was named Food & Wine's "Best New Chef in 2000 and his restaurant Vetri in Philadelphia, PA was awarded the James Beard Award "Best Chef Mid-Atlantic" in 2005.
While some financial markets might not fully appreciate the nuances of this deal as it pertains to stock price targets and year-over-year quarterly sales, we applaud any effort to appeal to a creative class that embraces tribal community while maintaining a meaningful, quality, and on-brand experience. Supporting young creatives is an attribute at the core of much successful collaboration in retail – and hybrid hubs with a gastronomic focus offer alluring variety to boost time-starved consumer interest.