The Williamsburg space that formerly housed craft beer bar d.b.a. is becoming a boutique, but beer isn’t entirely out of the picture: Stephanie McDermott plans to use it to entice wary boyfriends into her forthcoming shop, The Vale Collective.
McDermott brings her expertise in the fashion industry to her new venture, having worked in photo shoot production for Vogue Italia, and she’s up to the challenge of catering to the rapidly changing neighborhood. Having lived a block away from her new store for three years, the London transplant has noticed the trend of shops moving to Greenpoint because of rising rent prices, but she’s also noted that very high-end boutiques have recently moved in nearby in anticipation of progressing gentrification.
“There’s such a mix of people in the neighborhood that we kind of wanted to reflect that in what we’re selling,” McDermott told Bedford + Bowery. “We want everyone to be able to find something they like, whether it’s a piece of jewelry, super affordable sandals or a leather jacket.” The shop will sell women’s clothing and some men’s accessories, mostly foreign (particularly British, French and Australian) brands, including bathing suits by Mara Hoffman. “The idea is to have items that people haven’t already seen in other stores,” McDermott said.
With all the hotels going up in the area, tourists will be able to enjoy the Williamsburg vibe at The Vale Collective without feeling too pressured to buy something, McDermott said. “Every tourist will be walking by here,” she told us. “In Williamsburg there isn’t a vast amount for tourists to actually do, so I think there’s plenty of room here for a shop like us.” Too many times, she said, she’s gone into a boutique and a little old lady was standing behind the register, watching her shop. “You feel bad if you walk in and then you don’t like anything, so you end up rooting through things, trying to find something to buy so you don’t feel guilty,” she said.
She wants The Vale Collective to embody the opposite of that experience, so there’ll be a coffee bar serving Birch Coffee drinks, seating for 20 inside, large open front windows, 20 more seats out back, and — once the basement is ready — a gallery featuring local art. There’ll also be a bench outside, where McDermott envisions young local mothers with their strollers taking in some sun.
The Vale Collective, at 113 North 7th, is slated to have a soft launch at the end of May and an opening celebration in June.