Santa, a new retail concept on wheels, first starts in Plano and Frisco

A new company with a familiar name debuts in Plano and Frisco. Santa, a mobile store concept, was created by veteran founders of tech startups who recruited seasoned store executives for their pandemic-inspired idea.

The Santa Claus, which will run year-round despite the seasonal name, is launching with two trucks that roam local neighborhoods notifying surrounding residents to open the Santa Claus app. They will see there the latest assortment of fashion, beauty, technology, home decor and premium gifts. The cloakroom is the customer’s home and returns are collected at their front door.

“Santa is an attempt to create a new kind of physical store that moves and is supported by logistics and technology,” said Roee Adler, co-founder and CEO of Santa, and former senior vice president of WeWork Labs. “We are here to surprise and delight.

The vehicles are the size of an oversized milk truck, he said, and will contain 20-30 items that will change the weekly adult ice cream truck, selling fashion, beauty, tech, home and premium gifts.

Adler says the experience is better than e-commerce because shoppers can try on clothes and try out their home’s decor before their credit card is charged from the Santa app.

Adler co-founders Menachem Katz and Shai Wininger launched two technology companies, Lemonade Inc., an insurance company, and Fiverr, an Israeli online marketplace for independent services. Both companies are now listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

While Santa has staff working remotely in New York and Israel, the company is based in Dallas and has recruited retail executives from Nautica, J. Crew, and Urban Outfitters for buying, marketing and retail expertise.

The sales people on the trucks were hired locally and are full time employees.

Santa Claus employee Mallory Higginbotham places an order for a customer in Plano.(Taylor Madison)

The idea arose out of the pandemic when everyone started buying more online out of necessity, Adler said. Wininger is a longtime resident of suburban New York City, so he knew the hassle of returning online firsthand. This led to the question of why no one has created a store that comes to you?

Then they set about finding the right market, Adler said. They looked for key metrics in 1,400 US cities, including income, real estate prices and how often people eat out.

Plano and Frisco were at the top of the list. “We started calling people we all know over there and asking them about the lifestyle,” he said. “Everyone said you had to come here. People will love the personal connection.

The truck is packed with global and local brands, including luxury fashion brand Laude the Label, founded by Carly Burson, who owns a boutique in Fort Worth, and Spirit of Salt, a hand-painted goods and custom artwork owned by Heather Clark Lynn.

Lela Orr, founder and creative director of Dallas-based luxury fashion brand Ferrah, said in an email response that Santa Claus would help her reach new customers beyond a base she cultivated as a zero waste brand.

During a pilot period, Orr said orders were fulfilled “extremely quickly” through the Santa app. She accepted the wholesale relationship with Santa because she intended to “prioritize locally made products that support local artisans.”

Twitter: @MariaHalkias

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