Amazon-owned Shopbop is closing its sole retail store to focus on its growing online business.
The store, Bop, 222 W. Gorham St., will close the last week in December, said Kim Fleissner, chief operating officer, who said the lease came up and the building owner had a tenant for the entire building.
“That was really the catalyst for the whole decision,” Fleissner said.
A Grand Rapids, Michigan, company wants to combine the space of the Bop store and the former site of Quaker Steak & Lube on the 200 block of West Gorham Street, just off State Street, for a 9,700-square-foot bar-restaurant featuring craft beers.
The closing of the store will mean the loss of two full-time and nine part-time retail jobs; however, Shopbop is in the process of hiring 80 employees in Madison over the next year for its customer service and technology departments, and its fulfillment centers. Many of the jobs are open now. (Applications can be made at www.shopbop.com/careers.)
“We’re hopeful our store employees are interested and qualified for some of the positions,” Fleissner said.
Shopbop’s Madison corporate office is at 1245 E. Washington Ave., Suite 300. It also has corporate space in New York.
It has fulfillment centers at 1301 E. Washington Ave. and 4718 Helgesen Drive. Online orders for websites www.shopbop.com and www.eastdane.com are processed at the centers. During peak times of the year, the fulfillment centers operate 20 hours a day.
When the hiring is complete, Fleissner said, Shopbop will have 600 employees with a majority of them working in Madison.
Shopbop sells women’s apparel, footwear, handbags and more. Customers include women in their late teens to their 50s.
“We have a broad segment that we serve, although I would say 20s through the 30s are our core customers,” Fleissner said. East Dane sells men’s clothing and accessories.
Fleissner, a Madison native who has been with the company for 8½ years, is sad to see the store close.
“We have a deep love for our business and its roots. We’ve hung onto the Bop store because of what it represents — where it all began,” Fleissner said.
But, Fleissner adds, the company’s focus isn’t on brick and mortar stores today. It is serving customers online from 165 countries.
“We’ve built a fast-growing, profitable, online business. That business enables us to serve customers from here in Madison worldwide.”
The store opened 15 years ago with 2,500 square feet of space. In 2000, the online store began. In 2006, Amazon bought the company, which now has more than 400,000 square feet of space, most of it in Madison.