Solana Spaces—Solana-themed retail storefronts—announced the closure of its company-owned and operated stores on Tuesday, another ambitious initiative frozen by the prolonged crypto winter.
“We’ve made the difficult decision to sunset our stores in NYC and Miami by the end of February, and to pivot our Solana onboarding efforts into digital products like DRiP, our free NFT product with more than 100k sign-ups,” according to the Solana Spaces Twitter account.
The following is a note from our founder, @vibhu.
Dear @solanaspaces community,
We’ve made the difficult decision to sunset our stores in NYC and Miami by the end of February, and to pivot our Solana onboarding efforts into digital products like DRiP, our free NFT product with… https://t.co/kjNu9Ay4Gk
— Solana Spaces (@solanaspaces) February 21, 2023
Last summer, Solana Spaces launched its first physical store in New York’s Hudson Yards. The store aimed to act as a Web3 onboarding space for newcomers, where Solana faithful could buy their favorite Solana branded merch.
Another store opened in August of that year in Miami’s Wynwood district, an area that is known for being a creative and cultural hub.
The Solana stores joined a growing list of IRL projects like Bored & Hungry, a Bored Ape Yacht Club-themed fast food restaurant based in Los Angeles.
“Realistically, we were a startup that was chasing a path,” Solana Spaces founder Vibhu Norby told Decrypt in an interview. “Obviously, like many founders had to make difficult decisions sometimes, and this was one of them.”
Echoing his statement on Twitter, Norby said the team found more efficient ways to onboard people from both a product and financial standpoint.
“I think the reality is that we could have kept them running, but it didn’t make as much sense as it did in the past to do that, and so we didn’t,” Norby said.
Norby says the focus now is on the DRiP, an online platform that the company says saw the same amount of traffic as the physical stores.
DRiP is a website where collectors can receive free Solana NFTs, airdropped weekly.
“While our stores onboard between 500 and 1,000 people per week, DRiP onboards that same quantity every day,” he said.
Norby says the interest in DRiP surprised the team, with sign-ups for DRiP surpassing 50,000 as of this week, with another 175,000 on a waitlist to join.
“As a founder who has a background working in software products and things like MySpace and other social things back in the day—I really thought it [would make] little sense not to pursue that aggressively,” Norby said. “So a team from spaces and myself are taking that and running with it.”
But while the New York and Miami stores are closing, Norby says this isn’t the end of Solana Spaces.
“We open-sourced our stores in November,” he said. “We were excited to franchise the Spaces globally.”
One of these franchises, Norby says, is set to open in India in the coming weeks. Solana Spaces will continue to have a smaller presence in Miami within other apparel stores in the area.
Norby says the Solana Spaces stores will close on February 28th, adding that the New York and Miami stores would offer giveaways and discounts on merch leading up to the last day.
“I’ve instructed our retail team to be ultra generous,” Norby wrote on Twitter. “So come by and grab some free high-quality Solana gear, while supplies last and with some limitations,” he said, asking the Solana community who come by the stores to share pictures on Twitter.
“So we can all together enjoy the final week of Solana Spaces,” he said.