Have you done that lately? It’s a short, Five-word phrase that packs a heckuva big punch. Those Five words happen to be Five Below’s brand purpose, the Philadelphia-headquartered value retailer that has been the coolest store on the planet for tweens, teens and beyond for nearly two decades.
As one of the leading high growth value retailers in the country, with an amazing trendy, not spendy product assortment, and an engaging store experience like no other, Five Below’s pretty cool indeed.
It all started back in the early 2000s at a local coffee shop. Co-founders, Tom Vellios and David Schlessinger recognized a massively under-served market as they studied the needs and wants of the 8 to 14-year-old. They landed on the idea to create a place where kids could go after they had outgrown the toy store. By focusing on what kids want to buy for themselves, they created Five Below, the “yes” store for tweens and teens. The brand’s defining mission became simply:
“Five Below means you never have to pay more than $5 for the coolest, trendiest, highest quality stuff you just gotta have.”
In the years ahead Five Below’s store count will grow well beyond 2,000 stores, including an online shop at fivebelow.com. They’re all jam-packed with trend-right “wow” products, all priced at $1-$5 across eight awesome worlds: Tech, Create, Play, Candy, Room, Style, Party, and New&Now. From Spalding® NBA® basketballs to rad remote control toys to the coolest Bluetooth® speakers ever, customers are constantly “wowed” by the product assortment and often ask, “HOW do they do it?”
Being led by an innovative thinker has a lot to do with it. CEO Joel Anderson took the helm in 2015, and led Five Below’s charge into the $1 billion sales club at 2016’s end. His team of over 350 in the headquarters called “WowTown” and more than 10,000 store associates making up the Five Below “Wow Crew” play a huge part in Five Below’s continued success. Notice a “wow” pattern? Like Five Below’s purpose, “wow” has become synonymous with the brand since its inception. All of this is for the customer. With amazing products priced at just $1-$5, Five Below’s customers most often say, “wow” when they walk through the door or browse the mobile website.
Five Below strongly believes in “The Five Below Way” which captures the brand’s five core values and behaviors that associates live inside and outside the workplace. “Wow Our Customers” means every Five Below associate makes a positive difference in people’s lives. “Unleash Your Passion” speaks to building people up and doing what you say you will do. “Hold The Penny Hostage” means all associates treat Five Below like it’s their own business. “Achieve The Impossible” is all about setting the bar high and taking risks to learn and grow. Lastly, “Work Hard, Have Fun, Build a Career” means associates create the fun they want at work while developing new skills. It’s how Five Below has been able to grow so incredibly, and it’s how “WowTown” came to life.
WowTown is the name of the new headquarters at the old Lit Bros. building located at 701 Market Street in downtown Philadelphia, PA. Totaling over 200,000 square feet of incredible collaboration space, WowTown is a part of the rebirth of the Market East neighborhood in Philadelphia, adjacent to the history-rich center of Philadelphia, steps away from the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, and Old City.
“WowTown was created for the Wow Crew,” says Joel Anderson. “WowTown is much more than a headquarters. It’s where we join together, using our five senses to dream up unlimited possibilities for the Wow Crew to create an awesome customer experience each and every day. The Wow Crew in our stores embodies our company values—like unleashing their passion and achieving the impossible, going above and beyond to encourage our customers to let go and have fun.”
WowTown is open, bright and colorful, conducive to the forward-thinking Five Below thrives on. It’s also home of a mock store that’s strictly for merchants to experiment with products and store layouts before they hit the stores. Amazing merchandise is at the heart of what Five Below does, and they do everything to offer trend-right, high-quality products always priced $5 and below. But how? By creating long-lasting working relationships with longstanding partners. Five Below’s downright “trend crazy” and their ability to stay on top of the latest trends is unparalleled. Not to mention there’s an actual two-story Five Below store attached to WowTown.
What’s on Five Below’s to-do list? Well, the goal of opening tons of stores and remaining the coolest store on the planet, of course. The rest falls into three categories: Talent, Scale, and Culture. They want to attract and retain top-tier leaders throughout the company and build both the WowTown and Wow Crew organizations for sustained growth. They plan to continue to evolve and grow, while also investing in incredible systems and infrastructure to make working together smarter, easier and more productive. And lastly, Five Below believes in fostering the best-in-class environment and values, while bringing the purpose of “let go and have fun” to life. They know life is way better when you’re free to do this, especially when it’s in an amazing experience filled with unlimited possibilities.