Groningen is a fairly large university city in the North of the Netherlands with an active nightlife and a bustling downtown. Since many of the city’s most popular bars and clubs are localized within a several block radius, patrons will tend to leave their coats and other belongings at a single location while they move from one bar to the next, hoping to retrieve them at the end of the night. Of course as the evening progresses, finding where they initially left their coats becomes more difficult and less likely. Consequently, this results in an elaborate, and often futile, nightly scavenger hunt as individuals anxiously retrace their steps.
Housed in an abandoned shop in downtown Groningen, the StadsGarderobe, which translates to ‘City Wardrobe,’ establishes a central location where, for only €1.50, visitors can temporarily deposit their personal effects and continue on with their night knowing their belongings are safe and secure.
The initial catalyst for the project was based on a study conducted by the store’s founders Anne Willem Pranger, Jonathan Schaap, and Jos Maatje who, while students at nearby Hanze University, found that among their sample 80% said they had lost a coat after leaving it in a bar. This realization prompted the students to partner with the local association of entrepreneurs, the Groningen City Club, and set up shop in an unutilized space in the heart of the city. The 1,500-item capacity of the location provides an optimum solution for preventing the loss of what comes to approximately 8,000 coats annually.
However, the store isn’t simply a remedy for absent-minded revelers. Open from 1:00 in the afternoon to 7:00 in the morning, the StadsGarderobe’s daytime hours allow for a more pleasant shopping experience, where patrons of nearby businesses can deposit their bags and continue shopping unencumbered.
The StadsGarderobe is the first location of its kind in the Netherlands and offers a unique and elegant solution for utilizing vacant storefront real estate, catering to the needs of urban shoppers, and decreasing instances of lost and stolen property.