City Point, HiO in Downtown Brooklyn
HiO is slated to open this week at City Point in Downtown Brooklyn. Photo credit: CNBC

The new 1,900-square-feet “mini-mall’ inside Downtown’s City Point will include eight international retailers, some of which are making their U.S. debut.

Nine independent retailers are joining forces to test a new, smaller-format mall concept named HiO, slated to open later this week in Downtown Brooklyn’s City Point, reports CNBC. 

The new 1,900-square-feet “mini-mall’ will include eight international retailers, some of which are making their U.S. debut: women’s accessories line Parfois, travel items by Campo Marzio, sunglasses brand Hawkers, soap and cosmetics by Compagnie de Provence, embroidered bags by Emma Lomax, Swedish spa line L:A Bruket, candles and oil diffusers by Skandinavisk, notebook line Moleskine, as well as makeup brand Winky Lux.

Century 21 and Saks Off 5th to open in Brooklyn this week
HiO, the new mini-mall, will put up shop inside Downtown Brooklyn’s City Point.

HiO is owned by Direct Brands Group, a company that serves as an intermediary for international businesses and e-commerce brands that are looking to open retail locations in North America. A group of former retail executives, including Larry Meyer, former CEO of Uniqlo USA and executive vice president of Forever 21; Sever Garcia, founder and CEO of SGN Group; David Zoba, former global real estate head at Gap, and Herb Kleinberger, a lead retail consultant at PwC, developed the idea of opening up collaborative stores within prominent U.S. shopping centers. 

The company’s goal is not only to help landlords fill empty retail spaces and to support smaller online brands and international businesses transition into the American market, but also to attract those consumers who would otherwise opt for online shopping by offering them new, unknown brands.

“We have found more success in our real estate projects when we add more surprises — brands shoppers can’t find anywhere else,” said  Chris Conlon, COO of Acadia Realty, the company that owns City Point. “If we put in a typical [tenant], we would have disappointed Brooklyn and disappointed ourselves.”

City Point will be the first HiO destination, but Direct Brands Group is already planning to create additional locations in North America, that could open as soon as this year.

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