High-end yoga apparel brand Alo has opened its first store in San Diego — one of only three stores outside the company’s home city of Los Angeles.
Best known for its swanky “experiential” stores, Alo’s brick-and-mortar shops typically offer more than yoga clothes for sale. In the pre-COVID-19 days, the stores were designed as a yoga studio and store hybrid, complete with “organic cafes” offering things like kombucha on tap, in-store yoga classes and meditation sessions.
Alo will open its San Diego spot Wednesday at the Westfield UTC shopping mall in University City, but the location won’t be like the Alo’s of years past. Since the pandemic hit, Alo had to temporarily shutter the workout studio portions of all seven of its stores, a spokesperson for the company said.
In San Diego, the brand had originally planned to lease additional space for a yoga studio above its shop, but COVID-19 shifted the company’s plans. Instead, the University City location will strictly be a retail shop, eventually taking advantage of outdoor space at Westfield UTC for workouts outside.
The 4,000 square-foot space will be the first Alo store outside Los Angeles and New York. The company’s co-CEO and co-founder Danny Harris said San Diego was one of the first cities he planned to expand into due to the region’s culture around health and wellness.
“We’ve had (Westfield UTC) in mind since we opened our first store in Beverly Hills in 2016,” Harris said. “As we expand in California, we chose a likeminded community whose values align with Alo when it comes to yoga, health, wellness and fashion. We believe our culture will thrive in the San Diego community and support our mission to bring yoga to the world.”
Alo is the latest Internet-first brands to set up shop at Westfield UTC, which is largely becoming a center for experiential stores and showrooms for retailers founded online. The yoga brand has managed to evade brick-and-mortar’s retail weaknesses by giving customers more than one reason to visit the shop in-person. And besides classes, cafes, and a strong e-commerce presence, the company also makes money through a subscription-based workout app called Alo Moves.
As for COVID-19 preparations, Alo’s UTC store is handing out free Bella + Canvas face masks, is sanitizing dressing rooms after each use, and has equipped the store with Molekule air filters, a high-end piece of equipment that advertises it can vanquish 99 percent of virus particles, in each dressing room and bathroom.
Alo Yoga is one of several companies under the umbrella company Color Image Apparel, which was founded by Harris and Marco DeGeorge in 1992. Other companies within the holding company include Bella + Canvas, which makes wholesale T-shirts; and maternity brand Ingrid + Isabel.