When tony clothier Brooks Brothers decided to launch a prototype devoted to its “Country Club” line of apparel, the retailer selected a little-known shopping center on the coast of northwest Florida, Grand Boulevard at Sandestin, as the launchpad for the new retail-store concept the company called Brooks Brothers Country Club.
“I had not actually been to the Sandestin area before and, when I went there, it was so beautiful,” said Kathy Self, chief real estate officer for New York City-based Brooks Brothers. “What a great place to open and showcase our Country Club Collection.”
The collection started out as exactly that—a sportswear department within Brooks Brothers full-line stores—but the success of the apparel line described by the company as appropriate for the golf course to the clubhouse to the dining room propelled Brooks Brothers to expand the category to a freestanding brand.
The debut Brooks Brothers Country Club store opened in April 2007 at Grand Boulevard at Sandestin, a mixed-use town-center development located in Miramar Beach, Fla., a coastal community between Pensacola and Panama City.
The 2,188-sq.-ft. store occupies an inline location in the heart of the project’s town center on Grand Boulevard. “The boulevard runs from one end of the town center to the other, about a mile, and Brooks Brothers Country Club is right in the middle of the boulevard,” said Myra Williams, VP of marketing for Destin, Fla.-based Howard Group, the developer of the project. “Brooks Brothers is at the center of all the activity.”
The relationship between Howard Group and Brooks Brothers is not a new one. The retailer has an outlet in the developer’s Silver Sands Factory Stores, in neighboring Destin. Thirteen years after opening in Howard Group’s outlet center, Brooks Brothers became the third tenant commitment (after Orvis Co. and Coldwater Creek) for the developer’s upscale town center.
“Brooks Brothers’ new concept is such a great fit for Grand Boulevard at Sandestin,” said Williams. “The resort apparel is directly relevant to this center, this area and the people who live here.”
Since launching at Grand Boulevard at Sandestin, Brooks Brothers has opened another eight Country Club stores. Square footage is based on two prototypes—a 2,000-sq.-ft. store carrying just the Country Club label, and a larger, 5,000-sq.-ft. to 6,000-sq.-ft. format that will feature other Brooks Brothers sportswear collections as well.