Monday, November 17, 2014

Move Loot opening in Charlotte

Move Loot, an online consignment store selling secondhand furniture and home goods, is expanding its service to Charlotte and surrounding areas, the company said Monday.

This is the company's third market, along with San Francisco and Raleigh/Durham. CEO and co-founder Bill Bobbitt is a Raleigh native. Move Loot promises shoppers a "curated" online selection of used furniture and goods, documented with high-quality photographs and delivered to your door.

Here's how the company describes its process: 

  • Sellers photograph furniture, and upload the photos and descriptions to Move Loot (via the mobile app or a laptop/desktop).
  • Move Loot collects the furniture, photographs it professionally, posts it online for sale, and stores it until it sells.
  • Buyers choose what they want via the mobile app or computer, pay online and schedule quick delivery to their doorstep via Move Loot movers.
  • Following the traditional consignment model, sellers get a portion of the selling price, but Move Loot handles all of the hassle.
  • In keeping with Move Loot’s environmental values, items that don’t sell are eventually donated to local charities.
  • It combines the best features of traditional consignment shops with what has worked best for digital peer-to-peer marketplace offerings.
Move Loot plans to have a 20-person team in Charlotte by mid-2015, including warehouse and delivery workers. The company has raised $2.8 million worth of funding, and plans further expansion.

"We are thrilled to bring Move Loot’s service to Charlotte where we know people are looking for a better option for buying and selling quality, secondhand goods," said Bobbitt, in a statement.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Charlotte Athletic Club gym open uptown

Charlotte Athletic Club opened its second location over the weekend, a high-end gym in the ground floor of the Duke Energy Center on Stonewall Street.

“By opening our second uptown location in the Duke Energy Center, our aim is to make sure everyone that exercises in uptown Charlotte can conveniently and affordably experience cutting-edge equipment and programs, beautiful design, and inspirational workout environments," said managing partner Jim Donnelly, in a statement.

The new gym is 10,000 square feet. Here's how Charlotte Athletic Club describes the location: "The Duke Energy Center location includes multiple fitness studios, where the industry’s top instructors will lead a full range of yoga, boot camps, Pilates and innovative group fitness classes. The Charlotte Athletic Club’s cardio and strength training areas unite free weights and state-of-the-art cardio machines to create an inspirational setting for members to workout on their own, or with one of the Charlotte Athletic Club’s highly skilled personal trainers.

The locker rooms are equipped with complimentary grooming products, expansive styling stations and personal lockers that come with 12 hour guaranteed laundry service. Beyond the fitness floor, members can try our cutting edge whole body Cryotherapy studio, the first of it’s kind in Charlotte, and take advantage of services previously reserved for professional athletes and Hollywood superstars."

The gym's other location is at 101 S. Tryon St., in the Bank of America Plaza.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Auto House opening in Mooresville

A new auto dealer is opening in Mooresville next month: Auto House is opening its second location off I-77 at Exit 36.

The company has a dealership open in Salisbury. The new dealership will employ between 75 and 100 people, Auto House said in a news release. The company is seeking to open the store in the first week of December.

Here's how the company describes the new dealership: "The dealership will offer a selection
of over 500 certified used vehicles for sale...They will have a 12 bay service department that is open to the public, and unlike most franchise service departments, Auto House will specialize in servicing all makes and models."

A rendering of Auto House

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Conn's open now on South Boulevard

Conn's, a Texas-based retailer offering financing for furniture, appliances and other home goods, has opened its first Charlotte location.

The store, in the Carolina Pavilion shopping center, opened this weekend. Conn's said it employs about 30 people at the new location.

The business model they use is based on consumers financing goods and paying for them monthly. The store sells furniture, mattresses, appliances, consumer electronics and more. Here's how Conn's describes itself:

“We’re excited to bring the Conn’s HomePlus® experience to Charlotte,” said David Trahan, Conn’s President of the Retail Division. “We’re a fresh alternative for people who are looking for high-quality, affordable products. Our unique financing program is flexible and convenient, and people can expect a great customer service experience when they visit our stores.”

Also known as YES MONEY®, Conn’s credit program will be available in North Carolina and offer qualified consumers the chance to purchase higher quality goods at a low monthly payment they can afford, even if they’ve been turned down other places."

Many of Conn's customers are "credit constrained," or unable to get a loan elsewhere. Here's how the company puts it in investor materials. "Our credit offering provides financing solutions to a large, underserved population of credit constrained consumers who typically are unbanked and have credit scores between 550 and 650." More than three quarters of Conn's purchases are financed through their in-house credit program.

With 80 stores open in a half-dozen states, Conn's is expanding, and the company says it's planning a second Charlotte store.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

New luggage store open in SouthPark

Hartmann Luggage has opened a new store in SouthPark mall with high-end touches, the retailer said Wednesday.

The luggage maker manufactures suitcases, totes and other products, sold primarily at department stores, online and other retailers. In 2012, luggage maker Samsonite purchased Hartmann. This is Hartmann's second dedicated "retail boutique" in North America.

Here's what the company has to say about its new location:

This new 1,200 square-foot store located in Charlotte’s South Park Mall will carry a robust assortment of Hartmann products, including fine luggage, business cases, totes and backpacks, and small leather goods.
“We are all elated to announce the opening of our new store in Charlotte, North Carolina,” said Tom Korbas, President, North America, Hartmann. “When scouting locations in Charlotte, we saw the SouthPark Mall and felt it was the perfect fit to show off a range of Hartmann product to a marketplace that brings in an audience that aligns with the Hartmann brand.”

Some Hartmann luggage in action
The store’s chic design shows consistency among the other Hartmann stores, which all play homage to the brand’s heritage of providing iconic luggage to avid travelers. The store is intended to take customers on a voyage, telling the Hartmann story in a modern environment. Signature design elements have merged with new architectural details to infuse the brand’s heritage in a contemporary way. These elements include: acacia wood tables, cabinets and ceiling panels, built-in and suspended white varnish bookcases and shelves, stone merchandise platforms, and white and ivory decorative flooring.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

H&M opening Thursday in SouthPark

Tuesday is Election Day, of course, but we all know the real news this week is H&M's new store in SouthPark mall opening Thursday.

The store, H&M's third location, is set to open at noon. Here's what H&M says about the new store: "Join us on November 6th at noon for the launch of our brand new store at Southpark Mall in Charlotte, NC. If you're one of the first 200 shoppers in line, you will receive an all-access fashion pass valued up to $300 off your entire purchase! Bring in old garments to be recycled before the store opens at noon for the chance to win an H&M gift card valued between $50 and $100. Get ready to do some serious shopping to our in-store DJ spinning all the latest hits!"

Previous H&M openings at Northlake Mall and Carolina Place have drawn big crowds, with hundreds of people waiting in line for a chance to shop. The H&M store at SouthPark is located in the Macy's wing.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Publix to open Prosperity Village supermarket

Publix Super Markets, the Florida company marching into Charlotte, said Wednesday it plans to open a new store in the Prosperity Village Square development in northeast Charlotte.

The store will be 49,000 square feet, and Publix plans to open it in 2016. This will be Publix's 15th confirmed location in the Charlotte area, eight of which are now open (See a super-sophisticated map I modified below).

Publix has signed a lease for the new location in the shopping center. Rezoning for the 34-acre property the shopping center is located on was filed last year (see it here).

Bonus fact: The new Publix will be adjacent to a Harris Teeter and an ALDI store. You can't say Publix shies away from competition.

True story: There's no exact address for this store yet, because it hasn't been built, but Publix sent me the exact latitude and longitude for the store to create a map.