FYI: Lululemon's Massive New Store Is a Playground for the Wellness-Obsessed

Photo:

Courtesy of Lululemon

Lululemon has been a staple in workout wardrobes for what seems like forever. If you head to any fitness class or gym, you can spot the familiar logo from a mile away. Now, the brand is expanding into the wellness destination scene with a massive 20,000-square-foot experiential store in Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood. The space will not only feature retail offerings but also sweat and meditation studios and the brand's first restaurant, Fuel Space.

Photo:

Courtesy of Lululemon

"Our community model made us experiential before experiential was a thing," Celeste Burgoyne, the brand's EVP of Americas and global guest innovation, told THE/THIRTY. "We have always created experiences that extend beyond transactions—through events like SeaWheeze, our 10Ks, yoga classes and run clubs, and our network of 2000 ambassadors. We've further tested our experiential concept in Toronto and New York and learned that our guests want a more permanent space where they could sweat, grow, and connect."

Photo:

Courtesy of Lululemon

The space itself is bright, airy, and sleek. Manifestos—like "Move your body, still your mind"—line one wall of the store. There's seating throughout since the brand hopes that the store will be a space to gather. (Community events and workshops are on the horizon.) And as for the location choice, Burgoyne says, "Chicago has always been an important hub for us. We opened our first store in Chicago in 2006 and have deep community and ambassador relationships. Lululemon Lincoln Park will have 45 ambassadors—nine times the amount of a regular store."

Photo:

Courtesy of Lululemon

The new store isn't like an exclusive wellness club or gym. No membership is required, and customers can sign up for classes through the MindBody website or app. There are three studios, offering six to 10 classes daily, which range from yoga (Vinyasa, restoration, hip-hop), HIIT and strength training, and guided meditation. Classes are priced at $25 per session, with bundles for regulars.

Chicagoans can also try out classes for free by signing up for a week of complimentary classes at lululemon.com/lincolnparkclasses. You can also try pieces to wear to classes at the store through Lululemon's first-ever Gear Trial program. The best part? By working out, you can do some good, too, since 2% of class fees will go to a local nonprofit, I Grow Chicago. That would motivate us to work out more—that's for sure.

Photo:

Courtesy of Lululemon

As for Fuel Space, the brand's first-ever food-and-beverage concept, it goes without saying that visitors can expect healthy choices. We took a sneak peek at the menu and found the usual suspects—avocado toast, açaí and power bowls, and salads, but we also saw a cheeseburger and Beyond burger (because who says you can't have it all?). There are also coffee, smoothies, and beer and wine served, too. Post-workout happy hour, anyone?

Photo:

Courtesy of Lululemon

"The menu caters to gluten-free, paleo, keto, Whole30, and more. We believe what you get out is directly related to what you put in, in all aspects of your life, and our new F&B offering is designed to create connection, with multiple options for eat-in and on-the-go meals," Burgoyne says.

Photo:

Courtesy of Lululemon

And for Lululemon die-hards who are wishing they lived in Chicago, Burgoyne says there may be more stores in the future: "We're testing and learning with Lululemon Lincoln Park. As we said during our Analyst Day, the experiential model has the potential to be 10% of our fleet by 2023." For now, maybe book a trip to the Windy City?

Next up: The Ultimate Guide to Wellness Clubs