There is a new development today in the business shuffle along the block of Orchard Street between Grand and Broome. As we reported last week, Hyper Island is moving its digital media school to SoHo. Menswear designer By Robert James is moving from its current spot next door at 72 Orchard to the Hyper Island space. Today, we hear that The Great Frog, an English jewelry designer, plans to make its first New York home in James’ former spot.
“I always thought the Lower East Side would be a natural place for us, being the birthplace of punk,” proprietor Christopher Thompson said in a phone interview this afternoon. “We are really happy to be here; it seems like that little stretch of Orchard Street is just really coming up.”
The Lower East Side location, which has its own Facebook page, is set to open Nov. 1. It will be only the third store for The Great Frog, which claims as its customers “rockers, bikers and those on the edge of the mainstream.” The family-owned business originated in London in 1972, and just last month opened its second store in Los Angeles.
The jewelry designer, known as the originator of the skull ring, sells a variety of rings, bracelets, necklaces, cuff links and other accessories featuring skulls and animal heads, as well as motifs centering around bullets, flames and playing card symbols. Its goods are worn and touted by musical icons such as Motorhead, R.E.M., and The Rolling Stones, as well as celebrity athletes like Michael Jordan and David Beckham.
Great Frog will have a rock ‘n’ roll roommate to share the rent, as well. Cobra Guitars will take over the rear of the jewelry store for its manufacturing space. Thompson said the storefront has more room than he needed, and James hooked him up with the 18-month-old guitar maker, which currently has a shop on East 3rd Street. All of Great Frog’s manufacturing will remain in London, Thompson said.
James and his partner Michelle Lindsay have declined comment on the relocation of their boutique. But several nights this week, James has been hard at work in his new space, moving construction trash out and operating power tools. He’s also been Tweeting about his project, soliciting advice about lighting fixtures, among other things.