REAL ESTATE

After 47 years, Florida retailer sets its sights on second location

BY Katherine Boccaccio
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The story of Hy’s Toggery has been in the making for nearly half a century. What began in 1969 as a move by company founder Hy Wakstein to establish his own high-end menswear operation after 20-plus years in the industry would ultimately become a brand that has matured into one of the most respected independent clothiers in the southeast.

The retailer’s Panama City Beach, Florida, location is the oldest family-owned clothing store in Bay County. Over the years, Hy’s moved from evolved from suits and ties to sportswear, but what has remained constant is a business built on outstanding customer service and a collection of popular brands such as Columbia Sportswear, Patagonia, Guy Harvey, The North Face, and Tommy Bahama.

According to the founder’s son Gary Wakstein, who worked alongside his father for decades before his passing in 2013, offering those brands was a conscious and strategic decision. “My family recognized a long time ago that if we give people what they want, we won’t have to sell them anything. They’ll line up to buy great products,” Wakstein said.

Hy’s merchandising strategy is to offer a wide selection of sizes, styles, and colors within a select group of prominent brands. “We work hard to heighten the visual impact of that selection with store lighting designed to bring colors and textures to life,” noted Wakstein. “The store feels alive and exciting when you walk in, and it engages the customer and triggers their senses.”

Such commitment to suppliers has won Hy’s a seat at the product development table with many vendors. Hy’s Toggery execs meet annually with brand design and merchandising teams, inspecting prototypes and entering into the discussion on colors and styles. The retailer’s close relationship with the products it sells pays off in special ways. Hy’s is one of the top five sellers of YETI coolers and cups in the southeast, for instance, even though it has but one location.

That’s about to change. Hy’s Toggery recently signed on as one of the charter tenants at One Daytona in Daytona Beach, Florida. The $120 million-plus mixed-use project is under construction alongside the International Speedway –itself the beneficiary of a recent $400 million redevelopment. Hy’s will join a list of first-to-market tenants that include Bass Pro Shops, Cobb Theatres, P.F. Chang’s, Kilwins, Tervis, IT’SUGAR, Jeremiah’s Italian Ice, Guitar Center, and Venetian Nail Spa.

The store’s first foray outside of Panama City will be a 12,000-sq.-ft. space on the ground floor of a 144-room Marriott Autograph Collection hotel called The Daytona, which is on track to take part in One Daytona’s planned 2017 grand opening. The project is being developed by International Speedway Corporation (ISC) in conjunction with Pennsylvania-based Shaner Hotel Group and Florida hotelier Prime Hospitality Group.

Hy’s Toggery will be part of a 300,000-square-foot retail, dining, and entertainment district in a project designed to provide Daytona Beach with the social and commercial centerpiece it has lacked. “One Daytona appealed to us immediately,” says Wakstein. “It’s the right project in the right market: a true destination that will give 9 million annual visitors a place to shop, eat, play and stay.”

Wakstein foresees the location as a gathering place for local residents, as well. “I believe One Daytona will become downtown Daytona Beach, where schools and community organizations come to hold celebrations and special events.”

The Panama City retailer remains mum on further expansion plans, saying that the Daytona project presented itself as a unique opportunity. “Working with ISC’s people has been an outstanding experience,” he said. “It’s an affirmation of something we’ve discovered over nearly half a century of retail. When you surround yourself with good people, good things happen.”

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DEALS

Inland sells Mariano’s location in Chicagoland

BY Al Urbanski

Inland Private Capital Corp. announced the sale of a Mariano’s Fresh Market in Vernon Hills, Illinois, on behalf of one of its 1,000-plus investment programs. Sale price for the seven-acre property and 71,248-sq.-ft. store was $36.4 million.

Mariano’s, a Kroger banner, is Chicagoland’s up-and-coming fresh grocer with some 35 locations in the area. Roundy’s had owned the chain and held the lease at the Vernon Hills location until it was acquired by Kroger last November.

“The sale of the Vernon Hills location was our second Mariano’s disposition this year, both of which resulted in a substantial return for our investors,” said Keith Lampi, president and COO of Inland Private Capital, which has been buying up Mariano’s locations since 2011.

“As early adopters of what has been the fastest-growing grocery brand in the Chicagoland area, our investors are now reaping the benefits through monetization,” Lampi said.


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MARKETING/SOCIAL MEDIA

Abercrombie & Fitch has changed. But do consumers realize it?

BY CSA STAFF

From new store prototypes to merchandise changes, Abercrombie & Fitch has been investing in efforts to transform and update its namesake and Hollister brands.

Unfortunately, getting consumers to change their ideas regarding the brands is not proving all that easy, according to Columbus Business First.

“We’ve moved on. I don’t think the world has,” said executive chairman Arthur Martinez with regards to consumer perceptions of the company’s brands, particularly Abercrombie.

This fall, the company will launch an advertising campaign to establish its new brand positioning and rev up its efforts on social media and in other channels, the report said.

Click here to read more.

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