- Buyer's Guide
Arc’teryx ReBird | Repairs in the Heart of NYC
“The coolest in-store retail experience in my life”.
The words escaped my lips and past my moustache without any effort, almost by accident. I hadn’t planned to announce such a declarative statement… but once it was out there in the world, well… there they were.
Arc’teryx, the Canadian-based apparel and gear brand, is no stranger to New York City. They already had five proper Brand Stores in the city limits. Each one is a well-executed expression of the company, with racks filled with a wide array of some of the nicest gear on earth. Now, with the launch of this new endeavor, this brings their NYC Brand Store count up to six locations. Impressive.
While on a whirlwind weekend NYC trip, we called our contacts at Arc’teryx to politely ask if they could maybe squeeze us into their schedule to witness the just-opened (one week old) shop before we had to depart the city for Dimension Polyant up in Connecticut. They gave us a window that worked with our tight timing and we jumped at it. After a three-minute stop for coffee and bagels, we arrived at the storefront located at 547 Broadway, in the historic SoHo neighborhood. A bit caught off guard, as we were there a full hour before opening, there is a line of six hip-looking individuals, waiting for the door to open. Two more individuals join the line, as we recheck the hours on the glass. The door opens with a smiling gentleman asking, “Carryology?” and we enter.
I’m fortunate to have visited a handful of Arc’teryx’s Brand Stores around the globe, so I have high expectations for the retail aspect of the store itself… and of course, this example is just as nice as any of them. The brand new red Alpha Parka hangs among hardshell jackets, pants, boots, climbing harnesses, and other accessories. While I’m a bit of an Arc gear addict, that’s not why we’re here. We continue walking through the store, despite my severe urge to stop and fondle everything on the well-stocked racks, towards the back.
And it opens up… into the ReBird Service Center. The first of its kind. Not just for Arc’teryx, but to my knowledge… the first of its kind for any brand in this industry. Perhaps it’s the visual design language and decor that the interior designers chose, but I immediately felt like I had been transported to Vancouver, BC, to Arc’teryx’s state-of-the-art ARC’One manufacturing facility that we visited back in 2018.
So what exactly is the “ReBird” and why open a ReBird Service Center?
Our friendly tour guide and ReBird expert, Adam Grossman, explains the true purpose and motivation of this new retail experiment. But first, ReBird. The ReBird program has already been in effect for some time now and it’s integrated into the warranty/repair aspect of Arc’teryx.
The brand has one of the best gear warranties out there and the gear is built to a standard which is unrivaled. But… things still happen. So when folks send their field-damaged gear up to the Canada repair center and it happens to be beyond repair, Arc’teryx will replace the item if the issues are due to a manufacturing error, or even possibly offer a healthy discount on a new/similar item for damage that is caused by the user.
While fast, due to logistics and mailing time, that process takes a few weeks. Now, rather than just toss those items into a landfill, Arc’teryx will inventory them, cut them apart, and rebuild them, often by using two or more items, creating hybrid multi-colored items, like the ReBird Totes or Pouches, which they will then sell on their site. The items are inspected, tested, and only see the light of day after rigorous QC. When the highly coveted items hit the shelves, they sell out instantly.
Back to “things still happen”. The purpose of this repair center is to be there for the inevitable. No matter how well an item is made, there’s always a sharp nail out there, sticking out to shred your brand new jacket as you walk by… the day before your trip up to the mountains. Not cool. Now, you can physically bring your item in and choose from a wide selection of colors of zippers, zipper pullers, Gore-Tex fabric, and more.
Adam shows us a Beta SV hardshell jacket they have on display, which is patched up and repaired with multi-colored zippers and replacement panels. This would absolutely be a grail item for many. He tells us about each individual repair. But we want to see it happen in action.
Smiling, he flicks open his pocket knife and stabs a significant hole right through the Gore-Tex fabric. Folks, this was painful to watch. I think I actually winced.
We head over to the Gore-Tex, selecting a matching Gore-Tex Pro patch, in black. The Gore-Tex patch is then placed on the interior face of the jacket and then using the heat sealing press, Adam uses heat, pressure, and time to ensure a perfect bond between the jacket and the patch. Of course, it’s a perfect fix leaving nothing but a small barely visible scar from the exterior.
But… this is Arc’teryx… so how do we really *know* that this repair was performed successfully? Over to the next station; they apply extreme amounts of pressure and water into the specific area to check for leaks. Under this stress that far exceeds even the most brutal of weather, the Gore-Tex balloons up, but doesn’t leak a drop.
The whole process takes just a few minutes and converts a bad experience into a fun and exciting experience. Now, you can make that trip up to the mountains with full confidence, thanks to the repair of a skilled Arc’teryx ReBird Service Center specialist.
Folks can also walk in with their Gore-Tex items and drop them off for a proper wash and reactivation of the DWR (durable water-resistant coating). They’ll use the proper washing machines, washes, drying machines, and processes to get your apparel as good as the day you purchased it.
Smiling, Adam tells us that in just 10 days of being open, they’ve repaired 77 items and resolved 73% of issues right there on-site (the rest being handled by the fancy repair center up in Vancouver, which has all the advanced bells and whistles to take on bigger and more complex repairs). If your product is experiencing any issues that are not repairable and are covered under your limited warranty, they can your damaged item from you and provide you with a generous gift card for the value of the product you brought in, and help you shop for a brand new replacement item right there in the store. This whole process cuts down weeks or months of mailing products around the world while reducing carbon emissions as well. Win, win, win.
Lastly, maybe you don’t even have a product that needs to be repaired. Maybe you’re just there to look at something new. Of course, the front half of the Brand Store has all the aforementioned gear. But they also offer some super unique repaired ReBird items which you won’t find anywhere else. Proper unicorn hunting.
”The coolest in-store retail experience in my life” might not accurately express my thoughts. For me, I felt like a kid in a candy shop. I cannot wait to visit again, as they continue to grow and expand the ReBird Service Center operations.
Arc’teryx Broadway – Brand Store
New York, NY 10012
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