Health-drink retailer’s Tribeca ‘honor system’ shop may sound crazy — until you do the math

Dirty Lemon’s pop-up shop “The Drug Store” literally has no one minding the store. Customers come in and take what they want, and are expected to pay by text — eventually.


A formerly online-only beverage company opened an unstaffed retail space in Tribeca on Sept. 12, which asks customers to kindly refrain from stealing their pricey health drinks, without employing anyone to actually stop them.

Instead, the juice moguls at Dirty Lemon claim to trust their patrons to do the right thing, and use the brand’s proprietary text-based ordering system to pay when it’s convenient, according Dirty Lemon’s head honcho.

“This type of engagement enables the convenience customers have come to expect from our brand,” said Dirty Lemon CEO Zak Normandin.

The new shop, called The Drug Store, located at 293 Church St. between Walker and White streets, relies on what Normandin calls a “technology-enabled honor system” to discourage the theft of the 1,000 bottles of high-end health drinks stocked there, which promise benefits ranging from a good night’s sleep to beautiful skin, and retail for between $7.50 and $10 a bottle.

And while it may sound naive to leave up to $10,000 worth of ice-cold health concoctions unguarded in the name of customer convenience, one only needs to look at all the free marketing garnered by the company’s novel retail concept.

In the seven days since The Drug Store opened, it has generated more than $1.9 million worth of free media coverage, including a print article in the New York Times, online pieces by Forbes and Yahoo Finance, television spots by major networks like Megan Kelly’s NBC morning show, and even a feature on a talkRADIO broadcast across the Pond in the U.K., according to an analysis by Apex Marketing Group.

To put that in perspective, even if thieves were to load The Drug Store’s entire 1,000-bottle inventory onto a flatbed truck and drive off, and Dirty Lemon happily restocked it the next morning only to see it all stolen again by the afternoon, the company could repeat that cycle for nearly six and a half months before it started losing money.

And of course that’s not even counting the free publicity Dirty Lemon would get from media coverage of the heists.

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