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Retail startups like Allbirds, Everlane, and more are flocking to one of NYC’s trendiest neighborhoods to open stores — here’s how big the trend has become

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  • Allbirds recently opened its first flagship store in SoHo.
  • It’s the most recent of many e-commerce startups to open up in that neighborhood, including popular retail startups like Everlane and Casper.
  • According to Nicole LaRusso, Director of Research & Analysis for CBRE Tri-State, there are a few reasons that brands keep choosing this neighborhood, from attracting the customers that they’re targeting to the dropping rent prices.
  • We went to SoHo to see how prevalent this trend was for ourselves.

Allbirds, once an online-only shoe retailer known for making “the world’s most comfortable shoe,” just opened up its first permanent flagship store in NYC.

It isn’t the only store to do so. In the past year, it seems like more and more online-only stores have been opening up in downtown Manhattan. Retail startups like Everlane, Allbirds, Casper, and others which started as e-commerce only brands have been opening up their first physical retail stores in SoHo and the surrounding neighborhoods like NoHo and Nolita.

“Being in the SoHo neighborhood makes our brand experience accessible to New Yorkers, and also to visitors from around the country and the world,” Allbirds told Business Insider. “Our first SoHo store was a concept store — it was meant as a learning opportunity for us and a way to interact with customers in our largest market.”

The neighborhood tends to draw a lot of startups that are willing to invest more in their physical stores, according to Nicole LaRusso, Director of Research & Analysis for CBRE Tri-State. She explained to Business Insider that SoHo attracts sophisticated and thoughtful millennials that these brands are targeting. What’s more, the varied mix of brands in the area keeps the shopping experience interesting for customers.

This wasn’t always the case. Between 2010-2014, there were countless empty storefronts in SoHo. Rents were high, and shoppers were starting to shift towards online shopping instead of shopping in physical stores.

According to data CBRE shared with Business Insider, rents began to drop in early 2016, and e-commerce startups began filling the spaces either permanently or as pop-ups. In some cases, like with Everlane, stores will start out as a pop up shop, and if the shop is successful, the brand will move in permanently.

We recently went shopping in SoHo, and saw how prevalent this trend was for ourselves:

To track rents and study real estate trends in different parts of NYC, CBRE divides the city into neighborhoods, and then divides each neighborhood into different corridors.


To track rents and study real estate trends in different parts of NYC, CBRE divides the city into neighborhoods, and then divides each neighborhood into different corridors.play

To track rents and study real estate trends in different parts of NYC, CBRE divides the city into neighborhoods, and then divides each neighborhood into different corridors.

(Business Insider/Jessica Tyler)

In SoHo, there are three main corridors CBRE looks at: Prince Street…


In SoHo, there are three main corridors CBRE looks at: Prince Street...play

In SoHo, there are three main corridors CBRE looks at: Prince Street…

(Business Insider/Jessica Tyler)

…Spring Street…


...Spring Street...play

…Spring Street…

(Business Insider/Jessica Tyler)

…and Broadway.


...and Broadway.play

…and Broadway.

(Business Insider/Jessica Tyler)

Though those are the main corridors where CBRE tracks rents, Director of Research & Analysis Nicole LaRusso told Business Insider that there are other important areas for retail, like Wooster Street. There were quite a few retail spaces for lease on that block.


Though those are the main corridors where CBRE tracks rents, Director of Research & Analysis Nicole LaRusso told Business Insider that there are other important areas for retail, like Wooster Street. There were quite a few retail spaces for lease on that block.play

Though those are the main corridors where CBRE tracks rents, Director of Research & Analysis Nicole LaRusso told Business Insider that there are other important areas for retail, like Wooster Street. There were quite a few retail spaces for lease on that block.

(Business Insider/Jessica Tyler)

SoHo has a pretty big range of stores, including fast fashion retailers like H&M, more high-end stores like Burberry, and a growing number of startups.


SoHo has a pretty big range of stores, including fast fashion retailers like H&M, more high-end stores like Burberry, and a growing number of startups.play

SoHo has a pretty big range of stores, including fast fashion retailers like H&M, more high-end stores like Burberry, and a growing number of startups.

(Business Insider/Jessica Tyler)

A lot of the startups opening in the area spill over to nearby neighborhoods like NoHo and Nolita, like Casper and Everlane.


A lot of the startups opening in the area spill over to nearby neighborhoods like NoHo and Nolita, like Casper and Everlane.play

A lot of the startups opening in the area spill over to nearby neighborhoods like NoHo and Nolita, like Casper and Everlane.

(Business Insider/Jessica Tyler)

Everlane, which opened its first physical store in January, first opened as a pop-up shop before opening its permanent shop at 28 Prince Street.


Everlane, which opened its first physical store in January, first opened as a pop-up shop before opening its permanent shop at 28 Prince Street.play

Everlane, which opened its first physical store in January, first opened as a pop-up shop before opening its permanent shop at 28 Prince Street.

(Business Insider/Jessica Tyler)

Allbirds is another example of a retailer that started exclusively online, opened a temporary storefront in SoHo shortly after, and eventually opened a permanent flagship store on Spring Street.


Allbirds is another example of a retailer that started exclusively online, opened a temporary storefront in SoHo shortly after, and eventually opened a permanent flagship store on Spring Street.play

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Allbirds is another example of a retailer that started exclusively online, opened a temporary storefront in SoHo shortly after, and eventually opened a permanent flagship store on Spring Street.

(Business Insider/Jessica Tyler)

Being in the SoHo neighborhood makes our brand experience accessible to New Yorkers, and also to visitors from around the country and the world,” Allbirds told Business Insider. “Our first SoHo store was a concept store —it was meant as a learning opportunity for us and a way to interact with customers in our largest market.”


Being in the SoHo neighborhood makes our brand experience accessible to New Yorkers, and also to visitors from around the country and the world," Allbirds told Business Insider. "Our first SoHo store was a concept store —it was meant as a learning opportunity for us and a way to interact with customers in our largest market."play

Being in the SoHo neighborhood makes our brand experience accessible to New Yorkers, and also to visitors from around the country and the world,” Allbirds told Business Insider. “Our first SoHo store was a concept store —it was meant as a learning opportunity for us and a way to interact with customers in our largest market.”

(Business Insider/Jessica Tyler)

A big reason that so many retail startups are opening up shop in SoHo is the amount of open store fronts and low rent prices. There were “space for rent” spots on almost every block.


A big reason that so many retail startups are opening up shop in SoHo is the amount of open store fronts and low rent prices. There were "space for rent" spots on almost every block.play

A big reason that so many retail startups are opening up shop in SoHo is the amount of open store fronts and low rent prices. There were “space for rent” spots on almost every block.

(Business Insider/Jessica Tyler)

According to data from CBRE, rents having been dropping consistently in the area since early 2016, making it more affordable for smaller brands.


According to data from CBRE, rents having been dropping consistently in the area since early 2016, making it more affordable for smaller brands.play

According to data from CBRE, rents having been dropping consistently in the area since early 2016, making it more affordable for smaller brands.

(Business Insider/Jessica Tyler)

LaRusso also explained that SoHo tends to attract the sophisticated and thoughtful millennials that many of these startups are targeting. There’s a range of customers that come to the area because of the range of types of stores, from fast fashion retailers to more high-end boutiques.


LaRusso also explained that SoHo tends to attract the sophisticated and thoughtful millennials that many of these startups are targeting. There's a range of customers that come to the area because of the range of types of stores, from fast fashion retailers to more high-end boutiques.play

LaRusso also explained that SoHo tends to attract the sophisticated and thoughtful millennials that many of these startups are targeting. There’s a range of customers that come to the area because of the range of types of stores, from fast fashion retailers to more high-end boutiques.

(Business Insider/Jessica Tyler)

There are still a lot of vacancies in the area…


There are still a lot of vacancies in the area...play

There are still a lot of vacancies in the area…

(Business Insider/Jessica Tyler)

…but it’s filling up fast. CBRE data shows that SoHo has eight e-commerce startups that have opened up storefronts, Nolita has four, and NoHo has one. But some of the stores might close after the holidays, LaRusso said.


...but it's filling up fast. CBRE data shows that SoHo has eight e-commerce startups that have opened up storefronts, Nolita has four, and NoHo has one. But some of the stores might close after the holidays, LaRusso said.play

…but it’s filling up fast. CBRE data shows that SoHo has eight e-commerce startups that have opened up storefronts, Nolita has four, and NoHo has one. But some of the stores might close after the holidays, LaRusso said.

(Business Insider/Jessica Tyler)

While its uncertain whether this trend will continue in SoHo, CBRE explained to Business Insider that other neighborhoods like the Flatiron district and Union Square may start seeing something similar.


While its uncertain whether this trend will continue in SoHo, CBRE explained to Business Insider that other neighborhoods like the Flatiron district and Union Square may start seeing something similar.play

While its uncertain whether this trend will continue in SoHo, CBRE explained to Business Insider that other neighborhoods like the Flatiron district and Union Square may start seeing something similar.

(Business Insider/Jessica Tyler)



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Public officers above 58 years and with pre-existing conditions told to work from home: The Standard

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Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua. [File, Standard]
In a document from Head of Public Service, Joseph Kinyua new measure have been outlined to curb the bulging spread of covid-19. Public officers with underlying health conditions and those who are over 58 years -a group that experts have classified as most vulnerable to the virus will be required to execute their duties from home.

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However, the new rule excluded personnel in the security sector and other critical and essential services.
“All State and public officers with pre-existing medical conditions and/or aged 58 years and above serving in CSG5 (job group ‘S’) and below or their equivalents should forthwith work from home,” read the document,” read the document.
To ensure that those working from home deliver, the Public Service directs that there be clear assignments and targets tasked for the period designated and a clear reporting line to monitor and review work done.
SEE ALSO: Thinking inside the cardboard box for post-lockdown work stations
Others measures outlined in the document include the provision of personal protective equipment to staff, provision of sanitizers and access to washing facilities fitted with soap and water, temperature checks for all staff and clients entering public offices regular fumigation of office premises and vehicles and minimizing of visitors except by prior appointments.
Officers who contract the virus and come back to work after quarantine or isolation period will be required to follow specific directives such as obtaining clearance from the isolation facility certified by the designated persons indicating that the public officer is free and safe from Covid-19. The officer will also be required to stay away from duty station for a period of seven days after the date of medical certification.
“The period a public officer spends in quarantine or isolation due to Covid-19, shall be treated as sick leave and shall be subject to the Provisions of the Human Resource Policy and procedures Manual for the Public Service(May,2016),” read the document.
The service has also made discrimination and stigmatization an offence and has guaranteed those affected with the virus to receive adequate access to mental health and psychosocial supported offered by the government.
The new directives targeting the Public Services come at a time when Kenyans have increasingly shown lack of strict observance of the issued guidelines even as the number of positive Covid-19 cases skyrocket to 13,771 and leaving 238 dead as of today.
SEE ALSO: Working from home could be blessing in disguise for persons with disabilities
Principal Secretaries/ Accounting Officers will be personally responsible for effective enforcement and compliance of the current guidelines and any future directives issued to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

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Uhuru convenes summit to review rising Covid-19 cases: The Standard

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President Uhuru Kenyatta (pictured) will on Friday, July 24, meet governors following the ballooning Covid-19 infections in recent days.
The session will among other things review the efficacy of the containment measures in place and review the impact of the phased easing of the restrictions, State House said in a statement.
This story is being updated.
SEE ALSO: Sakaja resigns from Covid-19 Senate committee, in court tomorrow

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Drastic life changes affecting mental health

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Kenya has been ranked 6th among African countries with the highest cases of depression, this has triggered anxiety by the World Health Organization (WHO), with 1.9 million people suffering from a form of mental conditions such as depression, substance abuse.

KBC Radio_KICD Timetable

Globally, one in four people is affected by mental or neurological disorders at some point in their lives, this is according to the WHO.

Currently, around 450 million people suffer from such conditions, placing mental disorders among the leading causes of ill-health and disability worldwide.

The pandemic has also been known to cause significant distress, mostly affecting the state of one’s mental well-being.

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With the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic attributed to the novel Coronavirus disease, millions have been affected globally with over 14 million infections and half a million deaths as to date. This has brought about uncertainty coupled with difficult situations, including job loss and the risk of contracting the deadly virus.

In Kenya the first Coronavirus case was reported in Nairobi by the Ministry of Health on the 12th March 2020.  It was not until the government put in place precautionary measures including a curfew and lockdown (the latter having being lifted) due to an increase in the number of infections that people began feeling its effect both economically and socially.

A study by Dr. Habil Otanga,  a Lecturer at the University of Nairobi, Department of Psychology says  that such measures can in turn lead to surge in mental related illnesses including depression, feelings of confusion, anger and fear, and even substance abuse. It also brings with it a sense of boredom, loneliness, anger, isolation and frustration. In the post-quarantine/isolation period, loss of employment due to the depressed economy and the stigma around the disease are also likely to lead to mental health problems.

The Kenya National Bureau of Statistics (KNBS) states that at least 300,000 Kenyans have lost their jobs due to the Coronavirus pandemic between the period of January and March this year.

KNBC noted that the number of employed Kenyans plunged to 17.8 million as of March from 18.1 million people as compared to last year in December. The Report states that the unemployment rate in Kenya stands at 13.7 per cent as of March this year while it stood 12.4 per cent in December 2019.

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Mama T (not her real name) is among millions of Kenyans who have been affected by containment measures put in place to curb the spread of the virus, either by losing their source of income or having to work under tough guidelines put in place by the MOH.

As young mother and an event organizer, she has found it hard to explain to her children why they cannot go to school or socialize freely with their peers as before.

“Sometimes it gets difficult as they do not understand what is happening due to their age, this at times becomes hard on me as they often think I am punishing them,”

Her contract was put on hold as no event or public gatherings can take place due to the pandemic. This has brought other challenges along with it, as she has to find means of fending for her family expenditures that including rent and food.

“I often wake up in the middle of the night with worries about my next move as the pandemic does not exhibit any signs of easing up,” she says. She adds that she has been forced to sort for manual jobs to keep her family afloat.

Ms. Mary Wahome, a Counseling Psychologist and Programs Director at ‘The Reason to Hope,’ in Karen, Nairobi says that such kind of drastic life changes have an adverse effect on one’s mental status including their family members and if not addressed early can lead to depression among other issues.

“We have had cases of people indulging in substance abuse to deal with the uncertainty and stress brought about by the pandemic, this in turn leads to dependence and also domestic abuse,”

Sam Njoroge , a waiter at a local hotel in Kiambu, has found himself indulging in substance abuse due to challenges he is facing after the hotel he was working in was closed down as it has not yet met the standards required by the MOH to open.

“My day starts at 6am where I go to a local pub, here I can get a drink for as little as Sh30, It makes me suppress the frustration I feel.” he says.

Sam is among the many who have found themselves in the same predicament and resulted to substance abuse finding ways to beat strict measures put in place by the government on the sale of alcohol so as to cope.

Mary says, situations like Sam’s are dangerous and if not addressed early can lead to serious complications, including addiction and dependency, violent behavior and also early death due to health complications.

She has, however, lauded the government for encouraging mental wellness and also launching the Psychological First Aid (PFA) guide in the wake of the virus putting emphasis on the three action principal of look, listen and link. “When we follow this it will be easy to identify an individual in distress and also offer assistance”.

Mary has urged anyone feeling the weight of the virus taking a toll on them not to hesitate but look for someone to talk to.

“You should not only seek help from a specialist but also talk to a friend, let them know what you are undergoing and how you feel, this will help ease their emotional stress and also find ways of dealing with the situation they are facing,” She added

Mary continued to stress on the need to perform frequent body exercises as a form of stress relief, reading and also taking advantage of this unfortunate COVID-19 period to engage in hobbies and talent development.

“Let people take this as an opportunity to kip fit, get in touch with one’s inner self and  also engage in   reading that would  help expand their knowledge.

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