Bodega doubles as streetwear boutique

By Mark DiSalvo

Tucked away on a side street off Massachusetts Avenue lies Bodega, which appears to just be what its name suggests – a neighborhood convenience store.

But while its storefront is lined with rolls of paper towels and bottles of laundry detergent, it’s actually home to a high-end sneaker and clothing boutique, strategically hidden in the back. It sells products like limited edition Nike high tops and vintage streetwear apparel.

With no prior retail experience, but with advertising and marketing backgrounds, three Boston natives, Dan Natola, Oliver Mak and Jay Gordon, opened the store eight months ago, to cater to Boston’s street-savvy demographic, Natola said.

Because it’s not advertised through signs or marketing, placing a retail store inside a fully functional bodega can appear strange. But Natola said it’s a popular practice in places like New York City.

“It started as a joke … but it made sense,” he said. “Bodegas in New York City double for car services, baby sitters or alternate societies.”

Natola said he’s not concerned about the store’s lack of visibility as they compete with commercial hot spots like Newbury Street, only a few blocks away.

He pointed to the store’s merchandise as the reason it has remained successful.

“We felt that we had such a strong concept, and that would make up for a lot,” Natola said. “We knew that we put together a quality product, and when you have something that’s high quality, people want to be a part of it. It was a gamble on all our parts, but like anything, if you don’t try it, you’ll never know.”

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