It's been a tedious wait for the Trader Joe's on Columbus Avenue to open, and while it hasn't happened yet, we are getting close. This week, we saw the sign being affixed above the future store's entrance at Columbus Avenue and 93rd Street, which means the official opening (still listed as "coming soon" on the chain's website) can't be too far away. A look through the store's large, uncovered windows tells us that the check-out registers are hooked up, and the shelves appear are ready to be stocked. Anyone who has had to experience the winding check-out line of the cramped, multi-level Trader Joe's at 72nd and Broadway will appreciate a second unit on the Upper West Side to alleviate the teeming crowds at busy shopping times —or perhaps there will just be more teeming crowds. At least they will be more convenient for us here at Shophound HQ. The new store will also add a relatively affordable food store for the West 90s neighborhood which, despite Whole Foods and Westside Market branches within a few blocks, has only a Gristedes and a tiny Associated to serve as traditional supermarkets. We are projecting an opening within the next few weeks, if not sooner.
At this point, a new Trader Joe's is not as unique an event as it used to be, unless it is but a couple of blocks away, as the upcoming Columbus Avenue unit is from Shophound HQ. As we regularly pass breathlessly by the site to gauge progress, we noticed through the recently uncovered front windows that they are starting to install fixtures and registers to the store, suggesting that an opening may be only weeks away. We don't have a firm date yet, but the store at the corner of 93rd Street is listed as 'opening soon' on TJ's website, along with the more unusual news that it will include not just beer but also wine and spirits in its assortment. This will be only the second Trader Joe's liquor store in New York City where it has been notoriously difficult for the chain to navigate the licensing requirements to sell alcohol. Interestingly it will be just down the street from the only Whole Foods around that has a separate liquor store. This may signal fewer obstacles in the future for both chains in adding alcohol to their stores as the Trader Joe's slated for later this year on Spring Street in SoHo is also listed as selling wines and spirits. Perhaps the stores are being more aggressive in achieving their full presentations because, though it's taking a while, and it's going to be all the way in Brooklyn, there's one store on the way that will give both chains a run for their money: Wegmans. Get ready for a grocery way where all New Yorkers might turn out to be the winners.
It seems that there is no stopping the proliferation of big box stores throughout the city, and yet another permutation of the Bed Bath & Beyond mega-chain has arrived on the Upper West Side. What was once a Food Emporium on Broadway and 90th Street has just re-opened its doors as Face Values & Beyond, a combination of the Harmon Face Values cosmetics and beauty supply chain on the street level with a condensed version of the mother ship downstairs where the deli counter used to be. So far, no sign of Buy Buy Baby or Cost Plus World Market has materialized, but the new store shows how the conglomerated chains are being creatively tweaked and combined to fit various locations as they become available. One would not have thought that the space, empty for many months, would have been considered for a full Bed Bath & Beyond, and so it wasn't, but the Face Values concept should be a hit in the neighborhood, especially with the recent loss of a couple of nearby Ricky's. The lower level, it turns out was just enough space to fill with a "best of" version of the main chain including housewares, bed & bath and just a bit of the basics that the company is known for, situated equidistant from full line stores at Lincoln Square or 125th Street. The best thing here, as at all of the company's outlets, is the coupon game. It may be the 20% Off coupons that fuel this retail behemoth's continued expansion, but as convenient as it now is, one should never go there without at least one or two discounts in hand. Don't have them? They are easy to get, and can be ordered by mail, email, text message or, even better, all three. There are even occasional, limited offers to join as a member (for a small fee) to get a discount on all purchases at all times. Snap these up if you see them. They work across all four of the nameplates, and you will have a new appreciation for the big box stores coming to your neighborhood.
Say goodbye to the Armani Exchange at The Shops at Columbus Circle.
Later this year, that 4,000 square foot space on the third floor will be transformed into New York City's first permanent Amazon Bookstore. While you would probably need the entirety of Time Warner Center's retail space to display a full array of what Amazon offers online, the bookstore is expected to primarily serve to showcase the company's proprietary products like Kindle and Alexa, along with a curated selection of books. It will be more the size of the B.Dalton or Waldenbooks chain stores that some us remember, than the sprawling Borders that once existed only a few steps away. Whether or not Amazon aims to eventually repopulate some of the newly available retail space in malls all over the country remains to be seen, but the upcoming branch won't be the only one coming to the area. Amazon is also officially coming to Garden State Plaza in Paramus, New Jersey. The two stores will be the seventh and eighth Amazon Bookstores that have been announced which makes the brick and mortar chain still a tiny offshoot of the online giant which currently has three stores open in San Diego, California, Seattle, Washington and Portland, Oregon. Now the question to be answered will be whether New Yorkers, who have become extremely comfortable ordering fast deliveries from Amazon wherever they might be themselves, will be interested in visiting an actual Amazon store.
As was widely rumored a few months ago, hyper-popular grocery chain Trader Joe's has been confirmed by DNAinfo to be opening a new branch in 12,000 square feet on the ground floor and lower level of 670 Columbus Avenue on the corner of 93rd Street, a new retail space that has been waiting for quite some time to be filled. This will be TJ's second Upper West Side location after a branch at 72nd and Broadway that, like all the other locations in the city (and perhaps, the world?) is perpetually plagued with long lines of customers snaking throughout the store. Hopefully, this new branch will help to alleviate that overcrowding, but not importantly, it is only a few blocks from Shophound HQ which means that we will no longer have to go on the subway when it's time to replenish our stock of 19¢ bananas and frozen packages of ready-to-stir-fry vegetables. (insert delirious cheering here)
The new store is expected to be open early next year, and its main competition will be a Whole Foods at 97th and Columbus. If other neighborhoods in the city are feeling neglected, there's hope for them as the chain continues to look for suitable space in New York. Another location is reported to be opening in a former Food Emporium space in Kips Bay this Summer, and more rumors point toward a possible second East 14th Street store to be located between Avenues A and B.
So far, the Upper East Side has not been tapped, though it is likely to be high on the chain's list of neighborhoods for potential locations. For now we will just be counting down the days until our own neighborhood location opens its doors.
There is little news that will circulate faster than a Trader Joe's rumor.
Today's tidbit first appeared in The Real Deal telling us that the intensely popular grocery chain is just about ready to take 20,ooo square feet of brand new, virgin retail space at 670 Columbus Avenue between 92nd and 93rd Streets (pictured above) for its fourth Manhattan store it would be the chain's second on the Upper West Side, but as anyone who has shopped at the location at Broadway and 72nd Street, there can never be too many Trader Joe's in New York. That particular store, like the other two Manhattan branches, is known to start generating endlessly long checkout lines shortly after midday which not only take up shoppers time with waiting, but also make it increasingly difficult to navigate the store as the day goes on. Another store 20 blocks or so north would not only alleviate pressure on that store, but also make up for the loss of two other markets in the area, the generally gross Food City that once lived in a freestanding building at 94th and Columbus and a Food Emporium that closed last year at 91st and Broadway. It would also compete with a Whole Foods at 97th and Columbus, and make The Shophound gleefully dance around our apartment because we would be located exactly in between both stores.
Of course, we will hold off on the dancing until the deal is signed and done, because we also remember that the same site was once rumored to be the home of a future Bed, Bath & Beyond which also caused us moments of anticipatory joy but never materialized. Instead a Party City eventually appeared and took over 12,000 square feet of space underground at the recently constructed addition to 100 West 93rd Street, eliciting somewhat less glee from The Shophound. As New Yorkers have learned in the past decade, you could probably have ten times the number of Trader Joe's in the city as there are right now and it still wouldn't be enough, but every new one counts, and pretty much everyone on the Upper West Side is waiting with bated breath to see if this one will really follow through on the rumors. Stay tuned.
Trader Joe’s close to finalizing deal for new UWS store (TheRealDeal)
In case anyone thought that moderate contemporary brand Vince Camuto was a little bit downmarket for Madison Avenue, you were probably right. It looks like the brand has ditched the flagship across the street from Barneys that was once the home of the respectable Cole Haan, leaving it to the suitably exclusive Smythson of Bond Street. The prestigious British stationer and accessory purveyor will shortly be opening its new store there having relocated from the Crown Building on West 57th Street. Trading "across the street from Bergdorf's" for "across the street from Barneys" is probably something of an even swap, prestige-wise, and the windows on the corner of 667 Madison Avenue tell us that the new store will be open in March.
But isn't it a little bit snobby to suggest that department store mainstay Vince Cameo's premium line isn't up to snuff for Madison Avenue? After isn't DKNY just on the other corner of the block with chain store Ann Taylor just across 60th Street?
As part of the brand's ever more radical-appearing revamp, DKNY has abandoned its three-level Madison Avenue showplace, the last vestige of Donna Karaon on the street, leaving its SoHo store on West Broadway as its primary flagship home. As you can barely see reflected in the photo of the shop door below, the large Ann Taylor store has also been emptied out and is available to lease. Now there are two rather sizable retail spaces available in particularly desirable locations waiting for some deep-pocketed companies to swoop in and install some new flagship-sized stores. Who will move in, or more to the point, how long will those stores sit empty before someone coughs up the dough to move in?
While we all know that Nordstrom is building a huge flagship over at Broadway and West 57th Street, the details of what it will look like have remained a mystery —until now. Today's WWD confirms in detail much we have heard and speculated about concerning the first major flagship department store built in Manhattan since Barneys on Madison Avenue over 20 years ago. We also get some interesting new information, like the fact that the plans are so elaborate that the store is has now added a year to its projected opening date, so we will all have to hold out to 2019 to see it all come to life.
But there's more than that. “It can’t be just another nice regional store. It’s got to be better,” Nordstrom Inc.’s co-president Pete Nordstrom tells WWD. We know that the retailer is expanding its plan with more space across Broadway at 3 Columbus Circle, and now it has been confirmed that the space will, as has been widely speculated, be a freestanding men's store which, if it is ready in time, may actually open before the main flagship is finished. The other notable news is that Nordstrom will be taking space in every building along the block of Broadway between 57th and 58th Streets that are adjacent to the enormous new tower that will house the seven selling floors of the main store. That includes 1776 Broadway on the 57th Street corner, and 5 Columbus Circle on the corner of 58th. Their interiors will be integrated into that of the new building to increase space on the street level and floors above, while their exteriors will remain distinct from the new construction and, in the case of 5 Columbus Circle, dramatically restored to resemble its original Beaux Arts splendor (pictured in the gallery after the jump). That will give the store entrances through all of those buildings as well as one previously known to be integrated, 1780 Broadway. Now the flagship will have a continuous frontage that wraps all the way around the Broadway block from 58th to 57th Streets.
But what will the new building look like? presented a starkly modern exterior designed by architect James Carpenter featuring undulating glass panels that will allow maximum use of natural light inside the store as well as allowing clear views inside for passersby on the street outside (pictured in the rendering above).
The combined stores will give Nordstrom a total of 363,000 square feet of space, second in size only to the chain's main Seattle flagship store. The interior will feel familiar to seasoned Nordstrom shoppers with the retailer's signature floor plan featuring a central atrium with escalators. What it won't have is the vast expanses of space compared to stores like Bloomingdale's or Saks not to mention Macy's. Nordstrom compares the individual floors' size to those in Bergdorf Goodman, but they will feature the open plan you find in most of the chain's stores with a minimal use of hard, in-store boutiques.
This leads us to the question of exactly which designers Nordstrom will be carrying in its new showplace, a tricky question in Manhattan where luxury designers typically allow for somewhat wider distribution than they do in other cities, but still don't like to be seen in every single store. Nordstrom will have to convince many top designers who are already satisfied with their distribution between Bergdorf's, Barneys, Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdale's and likely their own flagship boutiques that they should add another point of sale in Manhattan. This work has been ongoing since the store was announced. "One of the things that will help with vendors is that we’ve got this West Side orientation that is somewhat unique,” says Pete Nordstrom, putting actual space between the new store and the concentration of big department stores further east. “We believe the West Side customer is underserved,” he explains. “We ended up picking this location for a reason — the combination of being able to build something really exciting and interesting and doing it in a neighborhood that’s underserved.” The added floor space will also help the retailer to come to agreements with top designers for representation in the store. Nordstrom already carries nearly every major luxury label in various locations throughout its network of stores. It is now more a matter of convincing them to add one more door in Manhattan where luxury department stores are proliferating downtown and Neiman Marcus, another key account for any top designer, is also entering the fray for the first time at around the same time.
The new flagship will be the most expensive store the chain has ever built, and it is expected to be its most productive as well. To that end, Nordstrom is obviously taking its time to make sure that every aspect of the store will be the best that it can be. We will find out in three years, now, how it all turns out, but few department store chains have a track record for expansion that is as successful as Nordstrom's has been over the past few decades. The results should be worth waiting for.
See more renderings of the upcoming store after the jump
You would think that 285,000 square feet over seven floors in a brand new, specially built skyscraper would be enough room for Nordstrom to launch it's long awaited Manhattan flagship, but the folks at the home office in Seattle are apparently feeling a little bit less confident about having enough space, now, so they have expanded —across the street.
WWD tells us that Nordstrom has taken a three level 43,000 square foot space at 3 Columbus Circle (pictured above) just across Broadway from the upcoming Nordstrom Tower for a second store. Rumors about the chain's interest in the space popped up about three months ago, but speculation was that it was to maximize the brand's presence with a flagship Nordstrom Rack store. If it seemed a bit unlikely that they would place an outlet unit so close to what is expected to be one of its crown jewel flagships, that's because it was. In fact the space will be an extension of the flagship as the home for certain departments relocated to make more room in the main store. While those departments have not yet been identified, speculation centers around shoes or menswear. While Nordstrom is known for its massive shoe departments, it is hard to imagine that it would move them across the street into a different building, making it difficult for sales staff to easily cross-sell footwear to complete apparel purchases. A men's department, however, can be and has been easily encapsulated in a separate, multi-level building as shown by Bergdorf Goodman's 25-year-old Men's store across Fifth Avenue from its original store and the freestanding men's store Saks Fifth Avenue is planning in the Financial District to complement the branch opening at Brookfield Place later this year. Nordstrom is also known for having one of the strongest men's businesses in the industry which could be maximized in New York City with its own storefront.
Or perhaps they haven't even decided yet. The additional space had included a Bank of America branch which the building's owner bought out to make the deal, and, since it is part of a building that is already built, unlike the very much under construction flagship store, Nordstrom has plenty of time to decide what to do with the space as well as create the store inside. Look for an announcement confirming the new space's use. . . eventually.
For whatever reason, Gwyneth Paltrow has become one of those celebrities that "the internet" just loves to try to take down a peg or two. Is it just a result of being a successful flaxen-haired beauty who has an Oscar? Who knows, but when she started Goop, her email newsletter turned lifestyle enterprise, people really got their hackles up despite the venture's obvious success and warm reception among her actual fans. Paltrow has brought her business to another level today by opening Goop MRKT, a Holiday pop-up store at The Shops at Columbus Circle which will run through December 24th. This is her fourth Goop shop, but her first in Manhattan. We are sure that her band of critics will have their knives out, but, honestly, when The Shophound breezed by the shop earlier today, we couldn't find a great deal to criticize. The modestly sized shop neat the 58th Street entrance to the shopping center has been spruced up with a paint job, some judiciously applied moldings and a few eclectic chandeliers. While we will not exhaustively catalog the contents of the shop, we can say with confidence that if this is an expression of her personal style and favorite items, then the woman has some damned good taste.
There are three sections, with one each devoted to food, cosmetics and fragrances and fashion. The food section, which includes a cappuccino machine presumably installed to serve customers, features a combination of cookbooks, new items like Staub cast iron cookware and antique pieces like a particularly eye-catching set of green and white Bavarian chinaware in the window among other items. In the next section there are soaps, fragrances and other cosmetic items, but the main thrust of the store appears to be fashion and accessories, including an exclusive capsule collection of star-spangles separates inspired by Wonder Woman designed by Pierpaolo Piccioli and Maria Grazia Chiuri for Valentino. There are antique watches and jewelry items mixed in with brand new accessories, and the label roster includes labels like Nili Lotan, Carven and Stella McCartney to name a few. For a pop-up, it seems quite well merchandised, more like something that could sustain itself far longer than 31 days, perhaps indefinitely. Is it expensive? Sure, but so are about a thousand other stores in New York, so that's hardly much of a criticism. Really there was only one thing that we could find to criticize —that name, Goop MRKT.
What? You're too good for vowels now, Gwyneth?
Goop MRKT through December 24th at 10 Columbus Circle at 58th Street, Upper West Side