Solana Spaces will close its two Solana (SALTCommunity-oriented retail stores in New York and Miami themed ) at the end of the month, as brick-and-mortar stores did not attract as many users as originally expected.
Solana Spaces tweeted the news on February 21, sharing a note from founder Vibhu Norby explaining the reasons for the store closures.
The following is a note from our founder, @vibhu.
Nice @solanaspaces commonwealth,
We’ve made the difficult decision to close our NYC and Miami stores by the end of February and shift our efforts to incorporate Solana into digital products like DRiP, our free NFT product with… https://t.co/kjNu9Ay4Gk
— Solana Spaces (@solanaspaces) February 21, 2023
Norby, who founded Solana Spaces in early 2022, explained that the company had reached an “inflection point” with the deals, prompting them to shift their investment focus to “DRiP”, a new landing platform of unmistakable works of art.
“While our onboard shops employ 500 to 1,000 people a week, DRiP takes on the same amount EVERY DAY,” Norby explained of the decision to shift his investment focus.
The decision to close the stores — which are located in Manhattan’s Hudson Yards neighborhood and Miami’s Wynwood section — was made “several weeks ago” and will “take effect” at the end of February, Norby said.
The ambitious initiative was relatively short-lived, with the two stores only officially opening in late July and August in New York and Miami, respectively.
Norby said the “experiment” was part of a larger plan to bring more people into the Solana and Web3 ecosystem:
“Our mission from day one has been to experiment with new and disruptive models to bring people to Web3 and serve the community on behalf of the Solana Foundation.”
“As I’ve often told people, as wonderful as the stores were, if we could find a more efficient way to bring people to Solana, we would throw our efforts into that,” he added.
But as he has since realized, the firm’s efforts can achieve better results in the digital realm with DRiP.
The Solana-themed stores offered customers the opportunity to participate in everything from personal wallet tutorials, earning rewards, purchasing merchandise, and participating in events.
When Solana Spaces opened its first New York-based store in late July, Norby hoped the store would bringing more than 100,000 people a month to Solana.
However, in Norby’s letter, the founder said that only 75,000 people were able to fit into the Solana Spaces store during its seven-month run.
Related: Solana Status: Will Layer 1 Protocol Rise Again in 2023?
The startup was sponsored by the Solana Foundation, Solana-based wallet provider Phantom and native crypto exchange Orca, and even though it didn’t take off, it seemed to have gained a lot of fans.
I just visited for the second time a few days ago!
Thanks for the experience!
Every time I come to Miami I have to make a pilgrimage to SolanaSpaces pic.twitter.com/ugCqbSyIzg
— Investrepreneuer.sol (@LordHearMePray) February 15, 2023
Several domestic players in the Solana industry, such as Star Atlas video game projects and Aurorasthanked Solana Spaces for its contribution to the ecosystem.
We are saddened to hear the news of @solanaspaces they are closing their stores in Miami and NYC The events that Star Atlas has attended and hosted there have been incredible!
Even so, we can’t wait to see what comes from their pivot to DRiP! https://t.co/4voal4yzfC pic.twitter.com/bXV8PKG6LE
— Star Atlas (@staratlas) February 21, 2023
The shutdown comes with an extended crypto winter caused many leading companies to lay off employees and close offices around the world.