Conventional thinking would suggest that if you operate a store that caters to younger consumers — many younger than 21 — it wouldn't make sense to seek permission to sell alcohol. Of course, if you're Urban Outfitters, conventional thinking is probably not what you're going for.
According to several reports, the chain has a liquor license pending for a new store it is opening in the Williamsburg section of Brooklyn, NY.
"Do we really want people drunk when they are buying their skinny jeans and ironic t-shirts," said City Councilman Stephen Levin in a statement published by the New York Daily News.
Crain's first reported on Urban Outfitter's plans back in March, although the story went largely unnoticed. That report said the company was looking to include a restaurant on the premise with plans to serve alcohol.
Bloomberg News reported last year on two Urban Outfitters Terrain stores that merged fashion with a restaurant. Other Urban Outfitters include sandwich shops and cafeteria-style cafes.
Wendy McDevitt, president of Terrain, told Bloomberg that consumers who visit the stores' restaurants spend twice as much time shopping as other customers.
"The one thing you can't get in the cyberworld is the tactile experience and that won't go away," Ms. McDevitt said. "Food is becoming bigger and bigger in terms of entertainment value."
Chains have had to get creative to make it in Williamsburg, an area known for its eclectic mix of independent shops. A couple of years back, Walgreens' Duane Reade opened a beer bar where adults could fill up growlers to take home. Based on a Racked report, local residents are not very excited about the prospect of getting an Urban Outfitters or its sister Anthropologie.
Do you agree or disagree with the thinking that brings together a restaurant/bar with a clothing store such as Urban Outfitters?