It’s been two years since Harman International opened its first stand-alone retail store in the U.S.
Since then, the bi-level, 8,500-square-foot showroom, located on Madison Avenue in New York — just around the corner from Microsoft’s new Manhattan flagship — has ably served as a showcase for the company’s premium Harman Kardon, JBL, AKG, Infinity and high-performance Revel and Mark Levinson brands.
Besides catering to local and international consumers, the showroom and “experience center” has provided a forum for retailers and technology partners to see, hear and appreciate Harman’s home and pro audio heritage.
The store, operated by Harman retail store experience director Jamie Feuss, a veteran of Tweeter and Apple Stores, also hosts live Saturday afternoon performances by local bands and DJs, and plays host to corporate and charity events by vendors and other groups. These have variously included a church restoration effort by former Yankees pitcher, MLB All-Star and World Series champion Mariano Rivera; a meet-and- greet with Super Bowl-winning quarterback and ESPN announcer Joe Theismann; an NBA All-Star viewing party and autograph signing session with Basketball Hall of Famer Julius “Dr. J” Erving; and launch parties by Lexus and Lincoln Continental.
The store itself features a professional DJ mixing board, once used in NBC’s Saturday Night Live studio; a soundstage for the live performances; and multiple interactive “experience areas” including touch-panel-controlled headphone displays, a soundproof chamber for comparing competitors’ products, and a state-of-the-art underground theater often used for special screenings.
TWICE recently toured the store with director Feuss; here’s a sense of what we heard and saw.
— Additional reporting by Joseph Palenchar