The first store opened in 2018 in New York, and the current branch is very favorably situated on the Abbot Kinney Boulevard which is renowned for it's range of sophisticated eateries, boutiques and galleries. The new location has been selected for the range of cuisines and products on offer, and the company felt that this was a natural fit for their iconic brand of footwear due to the particular style and fashion of Venice Beach which incorporates surfing and skating. The company also has a strong ethical stance and was awarded the PETA Libby Award in 2018 for being the most animal friendly shoe company.
The company has a long and prestigious background which began in Neustadt in Germany and dates as far back as 1774 to Johann Adam Birkenstock - a shoemaker from a small village. As the popularity of the shoe progressed a later addition was to add a contoured insole and other shoe stores were then opened in Frankfurt, Germany. Other innovations included a flexible arch-support which was developed into a shoe and this formed the initial prototype of today's Birkenstock sandal. By the 60's Birkenstocks had been introduced to an American market as well as to a number of other countries. The sandals became even more widely known in the 70's when they were adopted by the 'flower power' generation and enjoyed a further surge of popularity amongst high school and college students in the early 1990s.
David Kahan, the CEO of Birkenstock Americas, has been keen to point out that each store is designed to reflect it's specific environment. The new store in Venice does just that by tapping into the laid-back surfing vibe that is a key part of the area, and it even has a cork surfboard fixed to the ceiling! Kahan acknowledges that the world doesn't need just another shoe store, but that what does make a difference is a defined brand experience that will appeal to shoppers in a certain locale and keep them coming back. Customer feedback has been very positive so far - many people have commented that they feel as if the new shop has been there forever as it fits in so well with the Venice vibe!
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