Electronic cigarette retailer plans stores in Phoenix area
New York — Smoking Vapor.Phoenix, which manufactures and sells electronic cigarettes, has opened a store in Phoenix, and plans to open four more locations in the coming months, according to a report by Phoenix Business Journal.
The 1,200-sq.-ft. store sells e-cigarettes, e-cigars and related products. Smoking Vapor operates a handful of kiosks in Phoenix-area malls. The kiosks will close as retail locations open.
The e-cigarette industry has grown into a $1.7 billion market, according to Wells Fargo.
Hot online beauty company Birchbox opens first store
New York — Another online retailer has made the leap to the physical space. Beauty subscription company Birchbox has opened its first brick-and-mortar store, in Manhattan’s SoHo neighborhood. The two-level store brings the company’s digital experience to life, with a big emphasis on new products, customer reviews and expert advice. It also offers hair, nails and make-up services and group classes on various topics. The first class, taking place the week of July 21, will focus on make-up contouring tricks.
According to Birchbox, the store leverages the insights and feedback gathered since the company’s launch in 2010 from its more than 800,000 active subscribers.
“Our goal with Birchbox has always been to make it easy, efficient and fun for people to discover new brands and products fit for their lifestyle,” stated Katia Beauchamp, co-founder and co-CEO of Birchbox. “We have learned so much about how we can drive customers to change their behavior online, and we see an opportunity to extend into offline retail to evolve with our customers’ needs.”
The shop offers a curated product assortment of 2,000 products from 250 brands. Similar to the Birchbox site, the store is organized by category as opposed to brand. Testers of every product in the store are available. Shoppers can pick five sample size products of their choice for $15 in a dedicated B.Y.O.B. — Build Your Own Birchbox — section.
Technology helps create a personalized and seamless shopping experience. Touchscreens are located throughout the space that enable customers to answer a few questions about themselves to source product recommendations. There are plenty of iPads around the shop on which shoppers can view customer reviews and recommendations and video demonstrations to assist in their product selection.
Editorial content, videos and product reviews throughout the shop are designed to help customers learn and self-navigate. At the “Try Bar,” shoppers can experiment with different beauty trends and find the products that are right for them.
The classes, which are free for Birchbox subscribers and $30 for non-subscribers, are designed to appeal to all types of beauty consumers and allow them to sample, try and learn about the products.
Phipps Plaza adds luxury residential component
Atlanta — Simon Property Group and Columbus Realty have teamed to inject a high-residential component to Simon’s fashionable Phipps Plaza shopping destination in the tony Buckhead area of Atlanta.
The residential project, to be named Domain at Phipps Plaza, will be developed with Columbus Realty Partners.
Domain at Phipps Plaza will consist of 319 mid-rise, urban-style luxury residences; construction is slated to begin in September 2014 with occupancy anticipated in fall 2015. JHP Architecture/Urban Design of Dallas will serve as the architect for the project.
"Domain at Phipps Plaza will provide unsurpassed access to our upscale shopping, entertainment and dining options," said Dewayne Herbert, Phipps Plaza’s mall manager. "The addition of these high-quality residences at Phipps Plaza expands our ability to deliver a lifestyle embellished with luxury and quality, and creates an exciting new place for Atlantans to call home."
Other mall enhancements are already underway at Phipps Plaza. Scheduled to be complete before the holiday season, an extensive interior makeover will provide a fresh new look and feel and meet changing customer needs. Plans include upgraded energy-efficient LED lighting, new interior colors with warm wood accents and updated railings, comfortable lounging areas with Wi-Fi connectivity and device chargers, upgraded restrooms, and the installation of a hotel-like concierge customer service center. Major improvements to parking include new lighting, flooring and automatic doors to welcome customers.
Retail tenants include Gucci, Versace, Jeffrey, Giorgio Armani, Valentino, Hugo Boss and Bally plus Tiffany and Co., and Phipps Plaza is anchored by Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue and Belk. The center also offers dining and entertainment experiences including four white-tablecloth restaurants – Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse, The Tavern, Twist, and YEBO Restaurant & Bar – a 14-screen AMC Theatre with luxury recliners in all auditoriums, and Legoland Discovery Center.