Lululemon’s New Experiential Store Revolves Around Wellness
The 20,000-Square-Foot Chicago Outpost is Modeled as a Community Hub for Health Enthusiasts
For its largest store to date, athletic clothing brand Lululemon wanted to design more than a traditional shopping venue—the retailer created an interactive community hub centered around the holistic health culture that its patrons live by.
Embodying the company’s concept of “the sweatlife,” the two-level, 20,000-square-foot emporium opened in July with spaces built for exercise classes, meditation, events, and workshops, as well as hangout lounges complete with workstations for residents of the Lincoln Park neighborhood community.
“The result is not a store, it’s a playground for everyone wanting to get more out of life,” says the company. Designed by local architecture Studio 555 International, the loft-style store uses oversized windows and a large skylight, steel beams, and layered wood to form an open environment with multi-purpose spaces.
The store will offer 6 to 10 workout classes per day in its three sweat studios, with varying types of exercises including HIIT, yoga, and strength training.
Visitors can end their workout routine with a self-guided or group meditation session in the store’s cocoon-like relaxation space, which features tune beds with vibrational technology for 15-minute sessions.
Shoppers can even experiment with the store’s merchandise—the company will pilot a trial program for guests who want to test out Lululemon clothing while taking sweat classes at the in-store studios.
Encouraging shoppers to stay and connect in the store, the central Fuel Space food-and-drink bar offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner options such as smoothies, salads, toasts, protein boxes, and burgers, in addition to a full coffee and beer-and-wine bar.
So far, the experiential store concept has paid off. According to data collected by Silicon Valley-based Placer.ai, a foot traffic analytics platform, the store saw around 5,000 visits in the first two weeks of operation. Compared with one of Lululemon’s traditional existing store locations in the city, the Lincoln Park store saw more visitors in the off-hours, weekdays, and off-peak shopping days, and visitors spent 16% more time in the location.
As part of its Here to Be program, the store also hosts activities outside of the store such as group runs or half marathon events. To further give back to the community, the company will donate 2% of all class fees from the Lincoln Park store to benefit the local nonprofit I Grow Chicago, focused on providing development resources to the neighborhood of Englewood.