The luxury business isn’t easy. The Barneys New York name has been sold as part of its bankruptcy, and store closing sales have started in several cities, including its Madison Avenue flagship store.
But a freestanding luxury specialty store in Dallas says it’s rocking it.
“We’re bucking the trend,” said Crawford Brock, owner and operator of Stanley Korshak, a one-location men’s and women’s luxury store that’s been in the Crescent Court since it opened in 1986.
Stanley Korshak sees an average of 90 new customers a week, with 55% of them walking in the door and the rest online. About half are local and half are from out of town, including international shoppers. Sales in the six months that ended in October were up 11.2% from the same period last year. October sales alone increased 23.5%.
“Last week we had 155 new customers,” Brock said. On a recent Saturday, he met new residents who had moved to Dallas from Connecticut, California and Chicago.
“I talked to them at length,” he said.
The store is situated on a point where Cedar Springs Road and Maple Avenue meet, a location that Brock said some people find puzzling. To him, it’s a plus.
Uptown, downtown and the Design District have been sprouting cool new hotels, multimillion-dollar condos and apartment towers, and office buildings.
All those visitors, professionals and residents can easily discover the store in their midst.
The 1.3-million-square-foot Crescent Hotel and office development brings constant out-of-town visitors and professionals working in the surrounding buildings to Stanley Korshak.
Stanley Korshak’s out-of-town clientele also come to stay at the hotel.
Brock is hands on, and he’s in the store six days a week. So is Martha Leonard, executive vice president and general manager. They sat down Tuesday afternoon, after returning from the Texas Ballet Theater’s Tutu Chic Fashion Show & Luncheon fundraiser presented by the store, to discuss business.
Between their staff of 85, the two of them and their families, including grown children, “we know everybody in town,” Brock said.
Those relationships are part of their success, he said. “It’s a lot of hard work, too.”
The 32,000-square-foot store generates annual sales of more than $30 million, and it holds two to three events a week. Wednesday night the store hosted a party to benefit the Dallas Children’s Advocacy Center.
Brock is currently in lease negotiations with the Crescent Court’s owner, an investment partnership controlled by New York-based J.P. Morgan Asset Management.
Brock wants to renovate the store and maybe add a café. He has a few scenarios in mind. One would move women’s apparel to the first floor and take some space in the courtyard for his men’s business.
Both Brock and Leonard are alumni of Neiman Marcus.
Stanley Marcus, who was a consultant after his retirement from his family-founded business, was on a retainer with Stanley Korshak for eight years, and Brock spoke to him daily. Years earlier, when Brock ran the Beverly Hills Neiman Marcus store, he had lunched with Mr. Stanley a few times a year.
He’s still using lessons from Stanley Marcus, he said. “I know what he would say to me if he was here.”
“Stanley would ask me what’s in the way of you doing business? And, he would tell me quality will be remembered long after the price is forgotten,” Brock said.
Leonard said everyone in the building has the freedom to do what it takes. “We’ve packed customers for trips. It’s not a corporate setting with a lot of rules,” she said. The store has several employees with 20-plus-year tenures.
Stanley Korshak is in a consortium with about dozen with other independently owned specialty stores, mostly in the Northeast and in California.
Talking with his peers, he said, Dallas is a more competitive environment.
Another locally owned competitor, Forty Five Ten, built a new 40,000-square-foot store across from the downtown Neiman Marcus in 2016. And there are four Nordstrom locations in the area, including the one at NorthPark Center that’s one of the chain’s highest-volume locations.
It’s also a market where Barneys tried to do business and left — twice.
Leonard said her boss has “a shopkeeper’s mentality, and he’s constantly challenging the store’s sellers and buyers.”
“Retail is detail,” Brock said, recounting the first thing he saw when entering a Barneys store in Los Angeles last year. A T-stand was taped to the floor, and the sign on top had another brand over an etched-on name.
“That told me everything about Barneys,” he said.