Bodybuilder Underwear Store Closes After 20 Years in Business
HELL'S KITCHEN — New Yorkers hoping to show off their maxed-out muscles will no longer have a haven in Hell's Kitchen — the city's only store dedicated to buff bodybuilder briefs has closed for good.
New York Bodyworks sold the specialty underpants for 11 years on Christopher Street before spending the next nine years at a storefront on 429 W. 46th St.
Owner Michael Clark told DNAinfo New York that he shut down his storefront on June 30 after demand for the pumped-up briefs deflated.
"After 20 years, I decided to call it quits with a storefront — I had no choice," he said. "There was no street traffic or walk-in business. It is just the way buying habits have changed in today's world with the Internet and mega-stores."
For the time being, Clark plans to keep his business alive online, selling his custom-made "posing suits" through his company's website. The 300-square-foot store was empty Tuesday, with a "For Rent" sign and another thanking customers for two decades of loyalty.
Clark said that rent increases were small and not a primary factor in his decision to close shop.
"The business was not good in 2013," he said.
The space is being marketed by ABS Partners, who did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Clark's suits are still a hit in the niche bodybuilding community, with fans giving them a thumbs-up for tight custom fits that show off as many muscles as possible.
Clark's suits had a worldwide following — one he admitted might be better suited to an online store — with European bodybuilders often stopping in to pick up suits and even buy in bulk to sell to other bodybuilders back home.
Early on in the life of his business, Clark also realized he could cut off the back of the bodybuilder posing suits and easily turn them into g-strings — which became popular with male strippers hoping to show off their backsides.
The suits, still available online, still cost between $30 and $55, with g-strings going for $20. Clark is also still selling specialty aerosol sprays for bodybuilding competitions through his website, including a self-tanner and a spray designed to make muscles shiny and veins more visible.