Unify Brand Partnerships, a leading UK distributor of active, outdoor and lifestyle fashion brands, launched its first-ever independent multi-brand store on Abergavenny's high street this week.
The new store, known as U-Xplore, specialises in outdoor and running gear, combining the best of Unify's partner brands with a carefully curated selection of premium active and lifestyle brands, including Hoka, New Balance, Under Armour, LA Sportiva, SaySky, Brooks and Finisterre (as well as many more). Each brand is chosen based on their ethics, sustainability and b-corps.
The grand opening on Wednesday, November 8 saw a fantastic turn out; with Abergavenny's Mayor and Consort in attendance, alongside representatives from local running and sports clubs, brand ambassadors and members of local businesses - to name but a few.
Mayor, Cllr Anne Wilde expressed her delight, saying: "It is wonderful to see something open on Abergavenny's high street, and a privilege that Unify chose to open their first flagship store in our town. I think it will fit in very well and I am interested in seeing how the community take to it.”
Indeed, Founder and Managing Director of Unify Brand Partnerships, Damian Cooper, specifically chose Abergavenny as the home to Unify’s first physical retail store, describing it as “the perfect location.”
He commented: “I have lived in Abergavenny for 12 years and believe the town is the perfect location for our first retail store. Abergavenny has a busy and vibrant retail environment, with a mixture of strong vendors across all sectors, including food and hospitality. We want to engage with the town's running and outdoor community and will provide a first-class service while offering some of the best lifestyle and active brands in the market."
Unify’s Head of Finance, Dominic Flanagan further supported this, stating: “This has been a real passion project for Damian, who wanted to go back to his roots. Abergavenny is a fantastic place to showcase our brands, as people who have a heart in outdoor activity travel here – whether it be for the Three Peaks Challenge or to walk the Brecon Beacons (etc). We hope to become a hub for people with a passion for the outdoors.”
At the centre of U-Xplore's ambitions is their desire to become integrated within Abergavenny’s community. Unify’s E-commerce Manager, Justine Griffiths said: “We have had amazing support from our fellow retailers, which we have really appreciated. We already feel like part of the community and as a unit, are dedicated to bringing footfall to Abergavenny.
“We want to go beyond being just a store – we want community connection.”
U-Xplore hope to achieve this by hosting local run clubs (of any level) at the store to go on 5k (plus) runs, before returning to each club’s respective bases. The first introductory meeting was held on Thursday evening to establish how the brand will be moving forward with this idea.
However, U-Xplore also offers products to shoppers whose interests may lay outside running. For example, being a seasonal store, locals can expect see ski equipment in the upcoming weeks. When the Spring and Summer approaches, walking sandals and flip flops will make their way on the shelves. There is something for everyone at any time of the year.
“We will be keeping a close eye on what people are interested in,” Justine added “if there is a certain area or product that shoppers are seeking or find we are lacking, we will endeavour to cater to those needs. That is the beauty of having the warehouse just down the road!”
On Saturday, November 11 from 11am to 3pm, U-Xplore will be holding their soft launch for the community – complete with the serenades of a local busker and abundance of giveaway prizes. People can buy a raffle ticket at the store, where prizes will be won every hour.
There will also be an opportunity to win a fantastic bundle, which retails at an incredible £630. The hamper includes hot online favourites such as a Cotopaxi pack, Lowa walking boots, Rumpl blanket and more. To enter this competition, click the following link.