One of the most popular sponsor tie-ins was a partnership with Volkswagon (VW). A fleet of the latest models pulled up outside the shop each weekend, waiting to give a free lift around Manhattan to anyone who made a purchase online at the digital kiosk. "It's great that we found a corner with high foot-traffic in Soho," says Jim Richardson, an associate publisher who helped pick the temporary site. "The VW fleet has been successful. There's just a big cool factor here."
McKown and Richardson spent about a year brainstorming about the various events and the design of the space itself. The store had the feel of a circus tent, with white quadrilaterals of lycra stretched out all across the ceiling. The floor was clearly temporary, just a coat of paint on concrete. Two 11-foot snowmen, decked out in wireless headphones, guarded the front entrance. Over 50 products, the same ones the entire six weeks, were displayed on white kiosks trimmed with silver tinsel. The walls were all painted pink—hot pink at that. "We call it holiday bright!" said McKown.
The entire spectacle was indeed a draw. Store manager Norman says the space averaged 300 visitors on weekdays and 1,000 on any given Friday-Sunday. Among the first people in the door were actor Robin Williams, sporting Bluetooth enabled sunglasses at the time, and the musician Bjork, shopping with one of her children. McKown says setting up in Soho was a way to reach an influential clientele. "At halfway through the store's lifespan, we'd already had close to 50,000 unique visitors at the wiredstore.net site."