Retail isn’t a new concept for consumer tech giant Google, but a new report from the Chicago Tribune suggests that the company is seeking—a close to closing a deal on—its first flagship store in that city’s Fulton Market district. Google, which already operates a 900-employee Midwest headquarters in the same area, has opened pop-up style shops and stores-within-stores in the U.S. and U.K. but has never run a full-fledged retail store.
According to the Tribune report, Google is close to finalizing a lease for a two-story, 14,000-square-foot space in Chicago’s meatpacking district. The company declined to comment on the move and has yet to confirm plans for long-term shops. However, the connected spaces that make up the building were previously occupied by a couple of restaurants and other shops. And Google knows the area well as it’s situated just a couple of blocks south of its headquarters in that region.
If Google does ultimately use its new real estate for retail, the company would add to its portfolio its first flagship store—something it tried to do in New York City's SoHo neighborhood almost three years ago but ultimately abandoned. At the store, the search giant could showcase its growing range of hardware products, including smart speakers, smartphones, tablets, Chromebook laptops, and more. And, with the expanding skillset its Google Assistant boasts, it’d be well within reason to anticipate the space including some sort of at-home Google experience that is powered by Google Assistant.