Empire builder: Stefani Greenfield, an owner of Scoop, in one of her Manhattan stores
It takes some retailers years to know if their siren calls have been heard, but in the fall of 1996 Stefani Greenfield knew immediately. Her concept of “the ultimate closet” for women-a store stocked with the latest brands, the most flattering fits, and the newest must-have accessories-planted the flag on SoHo as the go-to neighborhood for chic urban dwellers and visiting wannabees from the suburbs. Greenfield and her partner, Uzi Ben Abraham, were overwhelmed with shoppers from the moment they opened Scoop NYC at 532 Broadway, and they paved the way for other trend-driven, female-centric clothing stores to open across the country. “We were at the right place at the right time with the right idea,” says Greenfield. Early this spring, she and Ben Abraham are bringing Scoop’s first “superstore” to Chicago.
Snagging an enviable piece of Bucktown real estate at 1702 North Milwaukee Avenue, they are betting that 10,000 square feet of men’s, women’s, and children’s clothing and a café (plus free parking!) will lure a cross-generational audience of fashion-savvy shoppers. Greenfield, a self-described “hippie in Manolo Blahniks” and a former designer at Donna Karan, travels the world for Scoop, but she fell in love with Bucktown’s artistic vibe and small independent neighborhood shops. “There is a real buzz about Chicago,” she says. “There are only so many great cities, and Chicago stands out for me.”
Beyond the buzz is a retail strategy designed to help Scoop, well-scoop the competition. Greenfield is often the first to buy from new lines and has championed Theory, Paper Denim & Cloth, Jimmy Choo, Matthew Williamson, and Stella McCartney at Chloé. She predicts that more recent finds, including designs by Daslu from Brazil and Poupette from St. Barths, will also soon be known names. And in an increasingly competitive retail environment, Greenfield has collaborated with a number of her loyal vendors to score exclusive Scoop lines. With 7 for All Mankind, she designed the cunningly cropped Audrey jeans to pair with Scoop’s top-selling private-label ballet slippers, and with J. Crew she developed colorful cotton broadcloth shirts and comfy lounge pants for men. Greenfield and the designer Steven Alan also took a mini-me, mini-he approach to a line of children’s clothing.
Acknowledging that retail success means desire has won out over necessity, Greenfield has stocked Scoop with tempting items: Azzedine Alaia’s super-sexy fitted mini dresses, Marc Jacobs’s bright red bags and gold lamé frocks, and Jimmy Choo’s deep bronze metallic high-heeled sandals. Greenfield organizes each store the way she arranges her closet-by color and category-and makes sure that every salesperson has the panache of a personal shopper and the warmth of a great bartender. “The music is great, the people are fun, and it’s a good time,” she says. “We build relationships, not wardrobes; we are the Cheers of retailing.”
Greenfield plans to lure Chicagoans by putting temptation in their paths, but the city has enticed her, as well. She craves the turkey-and-avocado sandwich at the Goddess and Grocer and has fallen for the scones at Red Hen Bread. The local Starbucks crew already knows her by name, and she is betting that by the second time you visit Scoop, she will know yours, too.
Photography by Travis Roozée