Adidas, which owns Reebok, opened a store this month that is almost exclusively for employees of the company’s 2.4 million-square-foot distribution center in Spartanburg and its area retail stores. It’s “almost” exclusively for them because employees will receive passes to give friends and family. Adidas also will issue a limited number of passes to area groups and organizations.
Brian Kriesel, vice president of store operations for Adidas, said it’s called an “employee store” in conversation but is perhaps more accurately described as a limited access store. In Portland, Ore., where Adidas and a lot of other major retailers are based, the model is quite common, he said.
Even though most of their employees are based in Spartanburg County, the employee store opened this month at 10 Quest Lane in Greenville on a hill overlooking I-85 near the Whitehorse Road exit.
“The primary purpose of the store is to support employees that work in Spartanburg, but looking at the overall population, getting a little closer to Greenville seemed to make sense,” he said. “We will invite community members here as well so we will reach out to different organizations and share this store, so this made sense in terms of different locations.”
The company has about 1,600 employees at the distribution center. The facility has been operating for 20 years and ships 400,000 units of product on peak days, filling orders for wholesale, retail and e-commerce, according to the company. Adidas also has 120 employees at retail stores in the Upstate and about 300 more spread across the Carolinas.
The store is for them, Kriesel said, but the location also needed to be convenient for the public, too, and the company made sure to create something with retail appeal. It’s designed with a sports stadium theme, employing concrete, faux locker room doors in the fitting rooms and the kind of fencing often found around athletic fields. What appears to be a locker room entrance actually leads shoppers from the 12,000-square-foot Adidas side of the building to 6,000 square feet of Reebok space.
“This is the most premium product that we have,” Kriesel said, referring to merchandise being put on display just days before opening. “This is all first run product. Again, we want to create that special environment primarily for our employees. We do want to be good business partners and good partners in the community and invite other people, but we didn’t want to be just another store. We want our employees to feel special when they come in here, getting access to the best product.”
Once the store has taken care of employee customers, it will begin opening on a limited basis to others in the community, Kriesel said.
“We will build relationships throughout the community over time, like we’ve done in Portland,” he said. “We have a small team that will reach out to different organizations and invite them from time to time. It’s relationship based. We want to get to know these organizations, then bring them in over time.”
Merchandise in the store is listed at the manufacturer’s suggested retail price, with a 50% discount given at the register. Employees and invited guests get the same discount.
“Exceptions might be made sometimes,” he said. “Like from time to time we might have a new launch product for a different price but 99% of the time it will be a 50% discount.” Business, organization and sports team leaders can reach out to them at adiGreenville@adidas.com to find out how to be considered for store passes.
“Our mission is to be the best sports company in the world, and to do that, we’re creating a great place to work for our employees,” Kriesel said. “Offering premium access to our products is a great benefit for our people, and we’re happy to regularly invite locals in as well as a way to give back.”