Van’s General Store Balances Charm, Quirk and Good Work

Ever wondered what happens when you take a veteran creative, a Hollywood superstar, a general store and an art gallery and cram them all inside a tiny storefront on New York's grungy Lower East Side?

Probably not. Because it's odd. And that's precisely why Van's General Store works.

Opened in late 2012 by advertising vet Scott Carlson and actor/director Liev Schreiber, VGS creates beautiful narratives for brands that want to tell stories. The collective works with brands including Chevrolet, Sierra Mist and Nergia, creating immersive brand experiences through art shows, product design, branding and packaging—basically, whatever it takes to tell a marketer's story.

For all that to work, the shop needed to fashion a unique space—and that it did.

Explained Carlson: "The concept of 47 Orchard was to have a storefront where we could use the front half to do experiential pieces for our clients, curate shows for local artists and, when the opportunity arises, have special events. The back half is where we hang out, work, create, make, gossip—and eat fried chicken from Pies 'n' Thighs."

1

Copy and Paste

Wheat paste images from artists working on the Sierra Mist show line the hallway. 

2

Art in Residence

The store’s current show is in support of Sierra Mist. Paintings are by Chicago and Detroit artists and featured in outdoor ads for the brand in those cities.

3

Made in New York

Van’s makes five custom beanies a week in unique colors.

4

Full-Service Branding

For energy drink Nergia, Van’s “did all the work, from logo, packaging and beyond,” said Carlson. “Keeping LES local, we worked with Mott Street Cycles to design a dozen branded bikes.” It made a few custom surfboards, too. 

5

One-Stop Shop

What general store would be complete without branded merch?