Limelight - saying that one word around anybody born in the 1970's and 1980's turns into hours of reminiscing and looking back at parties past. We have our fair share of Limelight stories. Sunday nights became the new Friday night. When it closed for good (under its renamed "Avalon") in 2007, we knew NYC nightlife would never be the same. Fast-forward to May of 2015 and the space has now been converted to a David Barton Gym with a boutique shop downstairs. Walking in, we loved that the top men's brands that were represented - Lacoste, Ralph Lauren, Ray-Ban, CAT Footwear to name a few. We were digging the new space. With a DJ spinning in the middle of the room and bartenders serving Skinnygirl cocktails and wine, it paid homage to its original roots while still modernizing it. We chatted with Founder of the Limelight Shops, Barry Adika, about the recently opened shops and their new online drop-ship service.
Labeling Men: Tell me how the process went in turning Limelight, which was infamous for being a club, into shops and sell them on that.
Barry Adika: Well I think Limelight's history is very unique; a lot of people have something to share, their stories, they've been here, they've danced here, some of them got wedding proposals here, there is so much history, especially New Yorkers. We figured the multi-brand concept and give people the experience of a multi-brand boutique and also give them the history which is "The Limelight." It's gotten an amazing reaction from the city and from so many different elements. The people who were here during the 80s are now executives of big companies and share a very unique heart for Limelight. It's been very successful and we get a lot of tourists as well along with the New Yorkers who love the store and always come back. We carry a lot of different brands that appeal to anybody - Ray-Ban, Calvin Klein, Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, anything that is a real brand name.
Labeling Men: We really love that you have such a huge selection for men because usually in most places its all women's and a little section for men. Did you think about that when you decided originally open the shops up?
Barry Adika: My experience is in men's, my background is in men's so all we know is men's. I think that because the David Barton Gym leases the space right above us, I think that the men's demand dominates the store. We're servicing over 100,000 members of the David Barton Gym through drop-shipping concept as well. Right now you see only a little, but our portfolio of men's brands is very big and it's more on a styling service. We started this thing called "Fitbox." It's really cool and we're going to have an online site coming in June.
Labeling Men: That's cool, can you tell us a little more about what it is?
Barry Adika: Fitbox is an amazing concept; what it is that it's dedicated to the gym members. We are calling you and telling you that part of your gym membership is a styling service, we basically are styling you from A-Z. We're sending you a pair of Ben Sherman pants with a John Varvatos button down and Ray-Ban sunglasses for free to your home. If you like it, you keep what you like and you send back whatever you don't like and that's what makes it so successful. We did our first test at the gym above us and people reacted to it amazingly. So that's where we are headed while giving you a little twist between retail and online. Because it's not retail, but you aren't going online either into the store.
Labeling Men: That is cool, it's a great concept!
Barry Adika: It is really cool, it's personalizing your closet. We're telling you, "This is what we got from this, this, and this designer." We're asking you what you like, what you don't like and we're sending you emails and we pay attention to every detail, whereas in the store sometimes you aren't getting that attention.
Labeling Men: This way you have an entire outfit in the box and you don't even have to go to the store.
Barry Adika: You don't need to go to the store and it's all there. We came up with the idea with gym members and sports, people don't really know anything about performance product. They don't know what a dry fit pants mean or biking pants or anything like that so we provide running gear, cycling gear, yoga gear. But then we figured we could provide a going-out fashion gear. And the customers that we've had in the beginning are coming back because they have somebody that is actually dedicated to them so they felt like they could just get an email with what they like, look at it, and just pick whatever they like!
Stop by the Limelight Shops 55 West 21st Street on the on corner of 6th Avenue.
By Nisim Frank