Eileen Fisher’s Newest Store Takes Advantage of Historic District Filled With Charm

Eileen Fisher searched hard and long for the perfect retail spot in Berkeley, Calif.

And the womenswear company, known for its classic silhouettes and natural fabrics, found it. In late November, Eileen Fisher opened its ninth California store inside a historic building that is nearly 150 years old.

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It is located at 1809 Fourth Street, in the happening Fourth Street district, the site of the two-story Ghego House, originally built in 1877 in an Italianate Victorian style.

“We’ve always loved Berkeley and known that we had a strong customer base here since the very early days of the business, but timing is everything,” wrote Lisa Williams, the company’s chief executive officer, in an email. “Space had been tight in the area, and there hadn’t been the perfect spot for us. Post-COVID-19, we started looking in the market again when we saw the listing for the Ghego House. We fell in love with its charming storefront and amazing location in the heart of Fourth Street. We love the energy on this part of the street with restaurants and an amazing mix of local boutiques and national brands.”

The Eileen Fisher store on the first floor of the wood-structured building occupies 1,800 square feet, a space that is slightly smaller than the average 2,000 square feet taken up by an Eileen Fisher location. The outpost has large windows, concrete floors, ceiling beams and white-washed oak fixtures as well as linen drapes and energy-efficient LED lighting.

The Ghego House was acquired in 1978 by the Berkeley Redevelopment Agency to save it from being torn down after a proposed industrial park had already prompted the moving or destruction of 80 homes. In 1992, the Ghego House was sold to Abrams/Millikan & Associates, developers of the popular Fourth Street retail district, which did a major renovation. Today the Fourth Street district has several well-known retailers including Anthropologie, Madewell, Title Nine, Athleta, Cotopaxi, Ruti and Bryn Walker.

This is Eileen Fisher’s 57 store in its retail lineup. About one-third of Eileen Fisher’s revenues, which in 2022 were estimated to be $267 million, come from its stores. It also has major wholesale accounts with Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue as well as with select specialty stores.

The company was started by Eileen Fisher in 1984 with $350 after a trip to Japan where traditional kimonos inspired her to create clothing with simple shapes and quality fabrics. Fisher remained head of the company until last year when Lisa Williams, the former chief product officer at Patagonia, took on the job to give Fisher more time to concentrate on design.

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