In the early 2000s, three guys named Oliver Mak, Jay Gordon, and Dan Natola built a store that is as much of an experience finding as shopping in. They created the store with the idea that the best things in life are worth searching for and that search should be rewarded.
A decade later, Bodega Sport is nestled in the heart of Boston. The boutique store disguises itself as a local, run down, convenience store.
But you’re not looking for a grocery store at all. It is “Boston’s best streetwear store” as told by many people – still hidden to everyone except those in the know.
Oliver says about the decision, “We thought that it would be a good idea—I’m still not sure if it is—to just rely on the strength of the product to bring the targeted consumer in. It’s a super targeted consumer. Those people were already looking for special stuff. We figured if we had the right products, people would find us. And I guess it kind of worked out that way.”
Shirking the traditional retail path, the guys decided to literally hide their store behind a staged bodega. The urban store sells the freshest gear, accessible only to those who know how to get in.
It’s a pretty risky business model to only rely on word of mouth and not advertise where your store is, after all, the store doesn’t even have a sign on it.
However, they managed to reach the very niche market of sneakerheads and menswear fanatics and it ended up paying off.
The space is fairly small and the first thing that catches your eyes when the sliding vending machine door opens is how bright the place is. Another thing that you can’t help but notice is the “high end” feel of the shelving that they place all of the apparel on. They also have fairly extensive jacket collection as well.
For almost 10 years, Bodega has been hidden away.
Even though they’re now one of the most recognizable names in the sneaker industry, you still can’t find them without being let in on the secret.