Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Infinity's End, other shops come to University-area shopping center

Town Center Plaza, at Highway 49 and WT Harris Boulevard, has three new tenants, including Infinity's End, a hair salon, shoe store and a nutrition shop.

Infinity's End will open a 2,000-square-foot shop in mid-September. The University-area location will be the retailer's third in Charlotte. The store offers a mix of merchandise, including tee shirts, hookahs, incense, posters, skateboards and disc golf. The retailer, which has been in business since 1969, is likely to draw a healthy crowd from UNC-Charlotte.

"We've wanted to get into University Area for awhile,” owner Frank Pietras said in a press release. "With the coffee shop next door as well as the outdoor patio, we knew this was the best choice in the area for us to open our third location."

Three other new businesses are also now open at the shopping center, according to leasing company Crosland. Geovanny Hair Salon opened in the spring, offering hair care services and salon products. New York New York is selling value-priced shoes for men and women starting at around $20. And Planet Nutrition opened in July near Weight Watchers and Lifestyle Family Fitness.

New Burlington Coat Factory headed to S. Charlotte

Discount-price retailer Burlington Coat Factory says it plans to open its third Charlotte location in the fall.

The 48,000-square-foot store is slated for Woodlawn Marketplace on South Boulevard, which is owned by KimCo Realty Corporation. The store will open on November 4, Burlington says, and will bring about 100 new jobs to the area.

There are some 460 Burlington Coat Factory stores in the country, and this will be the 10th in North Carolina. Burlington says its stores offer apparel and home goods at about 60 percent less than department store prices.

Burlington reported strong results in its most recent quarter, as many consumers remained cautious and hunted for bargains. Total sales rose 9 percent, to $793 million, and sales at stores open a year or more rose 4 percent.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Northlake Apple store opens this weekend

It's official: Northlake Mall's new Apple store will open at 10 a.m. on Saturday, Aug. 27.

The store has been under construction for months, the grand opening date kept under wraps per Apple's usual policy. The Northlake Apple store is Charlotte's second (the first is at SouthPark) and the state's fifth Apple retail location.

The opening is likely to draw a big crowd, and the first 1,000 shoppers will get a free T-shirt, Apple says. The store is on Northlake's second floor, next to the Bebe location, and will have all the usual Apple store features, such as the Genius Bar.

A Mecklenburg County building permit lists the project as a $1.7 million renovation. That sounds pricey, but actually isn't that much for a company that recently had several billion dollars more on hand than the U.S. Treasury.

So will you stop by Saturday for a free T-shirt? Avoid the crowds? Or are you more of a PC person?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Yoforia opens at EpiCentre

The frozen yogurt boom continues in Charlotte, with the area's fifth Yoforia location to open in the EpiCentre uptown on Friday.

The store will open for business at 11 a.m. Yoforia says it will have extended hours, presumably to cater to the late-night crowd. The store will be open 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Wednesday and 11 a.m. to midnight Thursday through Saturday.

“I think that opening a store in the EpiCentre presents a great opportunity to further showcase our product. We’re definitely proud and excited to offer an Uptown location,” said CEO Luke Tashie, in a statement. There are 17 Yoforia locations, in North Carolina and Georgia.

Charlotte has seen plenty of self-serve frozen yogurt stores springing up lately, such as a number TCBYs and The Frozen Isle in Overstreet Mall, to name just two. The rise of frozen yogurt in south Charlotte is chronicled by the Observer's Caroline McMillan in this piece.

Other retail notes:

The Wal-Mart at the Arboretum will reopen Friday morning at 8 a.m. following a renovation. The store now features an expanded selection of cold foods, beer and wine in coolers and twice as many dry groceries. There's also a larger electronics section and most of the departments have been moved.

Allen Edmonds, a shoe store, has opened at Phillips Place. They're donating 10 percent of sales through Aug. 21 to United Way, and also offering a 15 percent off storewide sale.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Update: H&M inching closer to Charlotte

Swedish fast-fashion retailer H&M isn't moving in to Charlotte yet, but it is marching west across the state, with the recent announcement of a new store planned in Winston-Salem.

The new store, as reported here, will be opening in November at Hanes Mall. The store is planned to be 20,000 square feet, with its own entrance and a grand staircase.

There is only one other H&M in North Carolina is in Raleigh, so the Winston-Salem store does cut the distance between Charlotte and the nearest H&M more than in half. In January, H&M officials said the retailer doesn't have plans to open in Charlotte this year.

But with H&M opening its second N.C. store in much smaller Winston-Salem, it begs the question of when the retailer will enter the Charlotte market. Could the emptying of existing Borders bookstore locations as going-out-of-business sales wind down give H&M the opportunity it needs (they average 24,800 square feet)?

The Container Store, another retailer with a strong fan following, moved into Joseph Beth's old SouthPark location after that store closed. For now, H&M fans will just have to keep hoping. (And thanks to an astute reader for the tip on this)

Update: Apple readies for Northlake store opening

The official opening date for Apple's store at Northlake Mall hasn't been announced yet, but rumors at the mall say it could be as soon as next weekend.

A spokesman for Apple wouldn't give the opening date when reached by phone this week. But at the mall, preparations look well underway. The new store, on the second floor next to a Bebe store, is walled off from view by a black barricade with a big, silver Apple logo on the front. Workers can be heard building inside, and there are jobs listings for retail positions at the new store on Apple's website.

CLT Blog gives "around August 25th" as the opening date, citing an unnamed source., a major source of Apple store news and rumors, lists Saturday, Aug. 27 as the tentative possible opening date.

At the mall this week, employees weren't quite sure of the opening date, but most thought it would be soon. Some said they thought it would be next weekend, or before Labor Day at the latest. But at least one other employee said she'd heard the Apple store is aiming for early next year.

Apple doesn't usually officially announce opening dates until right before the day. IFOAppleStore just reported three grand openings have been announced for Aug. 20, so if the 27th is in fact the date, the company could send out word any day now. Stay tuned...

Contact us: Are you excited for the new Northlake Apple store? Give Ely a call at 704-358-5041 or email

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

SouthPark Belk to get $2.3 million renovation

If you've shopped the bottom floor of Belk's flagship SouthPark store lately, you've probably noticed the signs of imminent construction.

On Tuesday, the company announced that it is starting a $2.3 million renovation that will redo the entire floor and shuffle merchandise areas around on other floors.

The main cosmetic impact of the remodeling will be on the first floor, where Belk is installing new floor tiles, carpets, wall treatments, new display fixtures and energy-efficient lights. The Arthur's restaurant and wine shop on the first floor are also being overhauled, with new decor and layouts.

All home goods will be consolidated on the first floor.

"The remodeling gives our entire first floor a modern new look, and will make shopping for home merchandise much easier and more convenient by placing it together in the same proximity," said store manager Randy Dell, in a statement.

The ladies sportswear department, including coats and swimwear, will be moved up from the third to the fourth floor. On the fourth floor, the space and location allotted to intimate apparel and special sizes will be adjusted to accommodate the move, Belk said.

On the third floor, the juniors department is being expanded to carry more assortments and sizes, Belk said. A grand reopening of the remodeled areas is scheduled for Oct. 12.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Savvy Spaces opens in Pineville

There's a new furniture store open in the old Boyle's store Pineville, near Carolina Place Mall, called Savvy Spaces.

The store had a soft opening on July 1, and is getting ready for a grand opening party for invitees Thursday night. The retailer sells multiple lines of more upscale furniture and home decor.

Savvy Spaces also offers furniture repair and restoration services. It's open Monday - Friday 8:30 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.

For a more detailed story about Savvy Spaces, check out this story in Furniture Today.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Family Dollar opens 7,000th store in Memphis

Matthews-based Family Dollar has reached another milestone: The retailer is gearing up for a grand opening celebration Thursday for its 7,000th store.

Family Dollar, founded in 1959 in Charlotte by Leon Levine, is opening the new store in Memphis. CEO Howard Levine, the founder's son, is traveling to Memphis to mark the event.

The retailer has fared well in the downturn, as more low- and middle-income consumers sought to save money. Family Dollar and its peers have also done well thanks to their networks of thousands of stores in many more locations than mega-discounter Wal-Mart.

Over the past year, Family Dollar has been expanding the amount of food it carries, renovating hundreds of stores and increasing its private label assortment of goods to help boost profit margins.

The retailer also fended off a buyout attempt by a New York financier and addressed shareholder questions about lagging its main rival, Dollar General, in store growth and productivity. Family Dollar is accelerating its new store openings after ratcheting them back a few years ago.

At the opening Thursday, Family Dollar will present a local food bank with a $7,000 check to mark the occasion and host a celebration with prizes and product samples,

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Container Store opens this weekend

Organization-ophiles, get ready: The Container Store has a grand opening scheduled this weekend at its new SouthPark location.

The Dallas-based company is opening in the former Joseph Beth bookstore that closed last year. Started in 1978 as a company selling boxes and storage solutions directly to customers, The Container Store has now grown to 50 retail locations.

Customers can expect to find "the world's most celebrated collection of storage and organization products," everything from sleek food containers to a dizzying array of boxes, drawers designed to help you sort out your closet. A VIP preview with food, champagne and live entertainment is planned for Thursday night.

The store will open its doors to the public on Saturday, Aug. 13. The grand opening continues to Sunday, Aug. 14, with a $1,000 custom-designed "space makeover" given away each day. Ten percent of sales proceeds from the weekend will be donated to the Levine Children's Hospital, The Container Store said.

The SouthPark store is the retailer's second location in North Carolina; the other is in Raleigh.

Friday, August 5, 2011

New James Avery jewelry store opens at SouthPark

SouthPark mall is getting a new jewelry store, as James Avery says it plans to open its first retail location in the state there.

The new store is set to open in October, SouthPark said. It will be about 1,581 square feet, located near the mall's Belk department store. Another new addition to the mall, upscale athletic-wear retailer Lululemon, recently opened in the same area.

James Avery, founded in 1954, is a family-run company. The store sells mainly handcrafted jewelry, much of which is faith-inspired and focused. Its mission statement is "to share life, love and faith through the beauty of design."

Monday, August 1, 2011

New Earth Fare, Kohl's set to open

A new Earth Fare, the Asheville-based organic supermarket, is ready to open on Wednesday in Huntersville, the company said Monday.

And a new Kohl's is coming to Waxhaw this September. Although an opening date hasn't been set, the company said Monday that it will hire 150 people to staff the store soon.

Earth Fare currently has 21 stores in six states, including two in Charlotte (one in Ballantyne, one in SouthPark). The company says it doesn't sell any products with high fructose corn syrup, trans fats, artificial colors and synthetic growth hormones or antibiotics.

Earth Fare's Huntersville location is at 10421 Boren Street, near I-77 and Gilead Road. The store will open at 8 a.m. on August 3, Earth Fare said. It will feature organic and local foods, meat, poultry  cheese and seafood departments, a bakery and a supplement section.

In Waxhaw, the new Kohl's is coming in September. The store is looking to hire about 150 retail workers, Kohl's said, including "associates for register operators, department associates, customer service, early a.m. freight unloaders and evening ad set associates."

A jobs fair is set for August 7 - 11, Sunday through Thursday next week, at the Hilton Garden Inn in Pineville. In a press release, Kohl's said applicants should visit or call 877-639-5645 to schedule their interview.