Posts Tagged ‘Wampum’

A half-pipe skateboard ramp popped up over the weekend in Wampum’s Coney Island pop-up shop. It really turned our head! The ramp brought to mind the Minnesota State Fair, where we saw local skateboarders perform in Lair Skatepark’s X-Zone. Located in Thor Equities “Retail Ride of A Lifetime” Building, which has neither arcades nor amusements, the indoor half-pipe at least brings something unique to Coney Island. It could be year-round “entertainment retail” if the skate shop, which is leasing the space for the summer, decides to stick around.

During the rezoning hoopla in 2008, the City proposed the creation of “entertainment retail” in the part of the former 60-acre amusement area designated “Coney East,” yet struggled to come up with viable examples. At a Municipal Art Society panel, Brooklyn Director of City Planning Purnima Kapur replied to a question from the moderator by mentioning Dave & Busters and ESPN Zone, laser tag and virtual reality. Yawn. An indoor ramp where you could see skateboarders do tricks where you also try out and buy boards would be cool.


Wampum Skate Shop in Coney Island. June 1, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr

Wampum, which bills itself as a “lifestyle clothing brand and skate shop” and has locations in Bridgehampton and Nolita, opened the 2,500 square foot shop on Coney Island’s Stillwell Avenue for the summer season. When we interviewed Wampum co-owner Lennon Ficalora in April, he talked about putting in a ramp. For now, employees are using it for demos to draw people inside the cavernous store. Will local skateboarders be able to give it a go? They’re looking into the logistics of having the public sign waivers, Wampum’s skateboarding sales clerk said.

Update: This Wampum location closed for the season after Labor Day Weekend. Throughout the summer, the half-pipe was used by store employees for demos and as a stage for a rock band. It did not open to the general public.

Wampum Coney Island

T shirts, caps and boards for sale at Wampum Coney Island on Opening Weekend. May 27, 2013. Photo © Tricia Vita/me-myself-i via flickr


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Coming to Coney: Wampum Pineapple Brim Anchor Snapback. Photo via wampumny.com

Wampum, a lifestyle clothing brand and skate shop with locations in Bridgehampton and Nolita, is set to open a Coney Island pop-up on May 24. The location is 1232 Surf Avenue in Thor Equities new building. The space is on Stillwell Avenue across the street from Nathan’s. “We just finalized the deal,” Wampum’s Lennon Ficalora told ATZ.

Lennon, 26, and his brother Marley, 24, opened their first shop two years ago and were looking to expand to another seaside location. Coney Island was familiar from trips to the Siren Festival. “We got a good deal,” says Lennon of the 2,500 square foot raw space, which they have leased from Thor through Labor Day. “We’re doing a minimal build-out.” Their neighbor in the still vacant new building will be candy retailer It’Sugar, a Miami-based chain also expected to open on Memorial Day Weekend.

The Ficalora brothers grew up skateboarding in Montauk, where their family runs the Breakers Motel. According to Wampum’s website, Lennon and Marley’s two shops are located next to their mother Helen Ficalora’s jewelry stores and her success as a jewelry designer was influential in their decision to open the Wampum stores. “The Wampum brand embodies the whole lifestyle that comes with skateboarding,” said Lennon, who was the first local kid ever invited to compete in the Van’s Warp Tour National Skateboarding Competition.

Wampum Nolita was named the best skate shop by New York Magazine in 2012. However, the Coney Island pop-up will feature 90 per cent clothing. “We hand print all the shirts and work with local artists. All the clothing is made in America,” said Lennon. The online shop stocks T-shirts, tanks, shorts, hats and beanies. Some of the items are made from 100% organic cotton. T-shirts sell for $30-$40, which is twice the price we’re used to seeing in Coney Island. Asked if the new shop will feature Coney-themed apparel, Lennon said, “I think so. We’re still finalizing it. There will definitely be some exclusives.”

Surf Avenue is set to get an influx of national chains and franchises–Applebee’s, Johnny Rockets, Red Mango, Checkers, It’Sugar. The upscale Wampum is the first small business to lease space in Thor Equities new building at Surf and Stillwell. Why aren’t there more? Back in December, a press release from Thor Equities offered potential good news for retailers and restaurateurs who wanted to get a foot in the door of the new Coney Island: “Thor To Add Local Flavor To Coney Island By Leasing Major Surf Avenue Parcels To Local Brooklyn Merchants At Reduced Rents For 2013.” Thor was said to be teaming up with the Brooklyn Chamber of Commerce to help recruit tenants. The idea was to fully lease Joe Sitt’s new building at Surf and Stillwell for the summer of 2013.

May we suggest a contest to attract a Brooklyn start-up with the winner receiving a highly publicized rent-free season in one of Joe Sitt’s remaining storefronts? Amusements in “Use Group A” such as arcades, games of chance or skill, fortune tellers, freak shows, wax museums and other midway attractions should also be given a percentage of space in the building as required by the City’s zoning in Coney Island. The Fascination Arcade, Shoot Out the Star and “Baloon Raceing” were among the old school amusements in the Henderson Building until it was demolished by Thor and replaced by the new building.

Update: This Wampum location is closed.


Related posts on ATZ…

June 20 2013: Half-Pipe Debuts at Coney Island Skateboard Clothing Shop

February 13, 2013: Thor’s Coney Island: Candy Retailer It’Sugar to Open Surf Ave Store

December 24, 2012: In Thor’s Coney Island, Discount on Retail Ride of a Lifetime

December 19, 2012: Will Coney Island’s Surf Ave Become a Mecca for Franchises?

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