REAL ESTATE

Baton Rouge center recruits bloggers in re-brand

BY Al Urbanski

“Our belief is that retail and mixed-use places need to evolve or risk irrelevance,” said Trademark Property Co. CEO Terry Montesi, who’s putting that belief to the test at a mixed-use center in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Local fashion bloggers Krystal Faircloth and Jennifer Palpallatoc have been recruited by Trademark to star in a multimedia ad campaign that aims to re-brand the 10-year-old Perkins Rowe lifestyle community. Fashionable tenants there like Sur la Table, Kendra Scott., J. Crew, and Altar’d State share space in the town center-style retail row with CVS, Barnes &amp Noble, and Cinemark.

The campaign also calls attention to a multi-million-dollar redevelopment at the site that will provide more public amenities and community programs. Trademark hopes the two bloggers, who have a combined following of nearly half a million people, will encourage locals to take advantage of them.

Trademark is known for its community involvement efforts, so it’ not surprising it would look improve that aspect of the center it acquired just last year.

“I’m confident everyone will agree the coming changes will generate new enthusiasm for both Perkins Rowe and Baton Rouge,” Montesi said.


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REAL ESTATE

Williams Sonoma to open specialty concept in New York

BY Marianne Wilson

Williams Sonoma is expanding its new dedicated home furnishings store format.

The retailer will open its second standalone Williams Sonoma Home location on Sept. 28, in the Chelsea neighborhood of New York City. The 5,300-sq.-ft. store will feature a full suite of home furnishings and décor offerings targeted for city living. It also will feature the retailer's complimentary Design Crew interior design services experts, who specialize in helping shoppers find the right products and services for a variety of needs at home, across all eight Williams-Sonoma brands.

Launched in 2004. Williams Sonoma Home has been marketed primarily through its online channel and a monthly direct mail catalog. But within the past 18 months, more than 40 existing Williams Sonoma stores have added the Home assortment. In April, the first Williams Sonoma Home standalone store opened, in Calabasas, California.

The New York City Home store will feature the most extensive assortment of rugs, draperies and lighting out of the entire fleet of stores, the retailer said. It will also include furniture pieces ideal for high-end small space living, such as smaller scale furniture and a sleeper sofa. It will located next to the Williams Sonoma Kitchen store.

“We’ve had our kitchen store in Chelsea for years and when the opportunity arose to have the two concepts side-by-side, we couldn’t pass it up," said Janet Hayes, president of Williams Sonoma and Williams Sonoma Home. "Now customers can shop for every room in their home, right in one place.”

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REAL ESTATE

Butler employs social media to tame Irma’s effects

BY Al Urbanski

As Hurricane Irma moved northward up the Florida peninsula, Butler Enterprises was ready with a plan to use social media to keep beleaguered Gainesville residents supplied with necessities.

On Sept. 5, director of marketing Mary Reichardt put Butler Plaza’s Facebook and Twitter accounts to work as emergency notification services. At the height of the flooding and power outages in Gainesville, Butler posted ongoing updates on which stores at its nearly 300-acre complex had received supplies of gas, water, flashlights, batteries and bread.

Updates continue to be posted by Butler as locals still labor to take things back to normal.

“At first, I and the property manager did regular tours of the stores and posted photos and reports of products on shelves,” Reichardt said. “Before long we started receiving updates directly from tenants like Lowe’s because their customers were coming in and telling them they’d read on the Shop at Butler Facebook page that they had lumber.”

The same occurred when Sam’s Club received the first truckload of gasoline to enter Gainesville post-storm.

One Facebook friend posted a thank-you note on the Facebook page that said, “Not only is Butler Plaza the best place to shop in Gainesville, you also performed a valuable public service in a very difficult time.”

A side-benefit for Butler was forging new bonds with tenants. “Our relationships grew significantly because of the storm,” Reichardt said.


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