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2/18/15-Sneak peek at the new BENRUS

The nation’s first BENRUS military-inspired boutique will open Thursday at the Culver Road Armory.

Rochester is one of four launch markets for the unisex shop and the first to open its doors. Other markets are Charleston, South Carolina; Washington, D.C.; and Newport, Rhode Island.

The retail chain is founded by Giovanni Feroce, former CEO of Alex and Ani jewelry. An Army combat veteran who retired as a major, Feroce left Alex and Ani and purchased a majority stake in BENRUS, known for its military-issued watches to servicemen between World War II and the Vietnam War.

Feroce, who serves as chairman and CEO, is transforming the brand name of the watch company into a full-scale retail concept that will sell watches, sunglasses, apparel and leather bomber jackets.

Staffers were busy preparing the new store Wednesday, stocking the shelves with shirts, watches and backpacks.

“We realize Rochester has a phenomenal market,” said Rodrigo Zetina, director of operations at Rhode Island-based BENRUS.

Most of the items are made in America, at factories in Massachusetts and Los Angeles, Zetina said, adding that the company proudly supports the made-in-America movement.

Ironically, there are no camouflage prints in the military-style boutique. BENRUS is a fashion-forward concept that is inspired by military nostalgia focusing on what’s trending, Zetina explained. While camouflage may have come and gone, the olive green color is still very much in vogue, he noted.

There were many fashion items in the olive green hue, from a watch for $225 to a waxed cotton jacket for $498. Other items include button-down shirts in plaid and blue for $118 and premium denim jeans for $148. Signature BENRUS watches start at $195.

The 1,400-square-foot BENRUS store will feature several lines to appeal to different demographics. It is next to Alex and Ani jewelry.

Source: Democrat & Chronicle