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Fashion / Shopping

Serena Williams’ Big Plano Drop In — Celebrity Investors Love This North Texas Department Store Disruptor

Hanging With a Tennis Legend at Neighborhood Goods

BY // 02.12.19

While many Saturdays are booked long in advance with an endless stream of obligations and ironclad plans, one such night brought hundreds out to Plano’s Legacy West for the chance to catch a glimpse of Serena Williams. The tennis legend was in North Texas for a pop-up celebrating her womenswear line at the newly opened Neighborhood Goods, the innovative department store concept with a rotating lineup of unique brands, founded by Matt Alexander and Mark Masinter.

According to Alexander and Masinter, there’s more opportunity in brick-and-mortar than ever before — it’s just in need of some updates. The duo proposed a fresh take on the traditional multi-brand store, one that would create an environment for brands to engage with shoppers in ways they can’t anywhere else.

“It’s a more modern way of presenting it to you that’s less to do with transaction and more to do with experience,” says Alexander, a graduate of Southern Methodist University.

Their idea quickly caught the attention of venture capital firms, celebrity investors (including Williams, which prompted this December pop-up appearance), real estate developers, consumer start-ups, and national brands, garnering nearly $6 million in its first round of seed funding before the doors opened to its 14,000-square-foot space.

Current brands at Neighborhood Goods include streetwear line Stadium Goods; direct-to-consumer mattress and bedding brand Allswell; Bembien, a Brooklyn-based line of Balinese woven bags; luxury sleepwear line Desmond & Dempsey out of London; rustic-chic ceramic dinnerware line Year & Day; Reese Witherspoon‘s Southern-inspired lifestyle brand, Draper James; and works by local artist Rob Wilson, among other limited-time-only offerings.

“The relationship we’re cultivating here is an experimental one,” Alexander says of the new retailer/brand dynamic. “They already have the web, some of them have their own stores, and, in some cases, apps. We’re encouraging them to see us as an entirely different channel.”

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In need of a luxury architecture firm with a playful aesthetic, the team tapped Droese Raney to design the space, which is open, bright, and dynamic enough to suit the store’s constantly evolving wares.

“I think we all strive to create that magnetic moment of physical design that pulls a phone out of a pocket to take a picture,” Alexander says when asked about the design just before the store opened last year. And then came a quick sign-off in a way only a millennial entrepreneur could get away with.

“Gotta go,” he said. “They are putting the sign up, and I think it might be our first Instagram moment.”

Neighborhood Goods, 7300 Windrose Ave, neighborhoodgoods.com

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