DESIGN/CONSTRUCTION

Fast-casual concept has big ambitions

BY Marianne Wilson

A start-up that specializes in melted-sandwiches made from high-quality ingredients is looking to go nationwide.

Melt Shop hopes to grow to 100 locations during the next five years across the U.S. and internationally via franchising. The brand, founded in 2011 in New York, currently operates six corporate-owned locations in New York, one at Mall of America, Bloomington, Minn., and one in King of Prussia, Pa. It recently expanded into the Middle East and will open seven locations in the region, with four opening in Kuwait by March 2018.

"Melt Shop has spent the last six years tirelessly perfecting our brand and business model. The timing is right to bring our New York-born fast casual concept to the world," said Josh Morgan, operating partner of Aurify Brands, Melt Shop parent company.

Part hospitality group and part restaurant incubator, Aurify Brands also owns and operates The Little Beet, The Little Beet Table, Fields Good Chicken, and Make Sandwich.

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DEALS

PREIT sells Altoona mall for $33 million

BY Al Urbanski

PREIT, which has long been pursuing a strategy of unloading underperforming malls from its portfolio, announced it has sold the Logan Valley Mall for $33.2 million net of credits issued to the buyer. The new owner’s identity was not released.

The Altoona, Pennsylvania, mall — anchored by Macy's, J.C. Penney and Sears — had been turning in sales-per-square-foot of $324 versus an average of $475 for the rest of the PREIT portfolio.

"This transaction marks another key step in our capital and portfolio improvement plans," said CEO Joseph Coradino. "We are intently focused on being in tune with the future of retailing by curating a portfolio that continues to lead the way with a new and diversified tenant mix leading to earnings growth and driving shareholder value."

Whoever the new owner is gets a mall that appears to continue to be a lively player in a tertiary market, according to Yelp reviewers.

“If this mall wasn't destroyed by fire so many years ago, it wouldn't be what it is today,” wrote one. “You do have your 'high end' type of stores here where you can't find ones identical to them until you head about 50 miles in any direction.”

Wrote another: "I live in Pittsburgh now — the north hills to be more specific. I never thought that I would say that I miss the mall from back home! The Logan Valley Mall has everything you want and at affordable prices.”


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News

Trending Store: Beauty Story, New York City

BY CSA STAFF

There's a new story at Story — the innovative retail outpost in downtown Manhattan that totally reinvents itself every couple of months — and this time it's all about beauty.

Story has partnered with global beauty giant Coty to transform the space into a beauty lover's paradise. Beauty Story showcases Coty's Covergirl, Clairol, Sally Hansen and Rimmel brands along with an array of cutting-edge and lesser known ones. (According to a report by WWD, a typical sponsorship at Story costs $500,000 and holiday concepts cost $1 million.)

Shoppers at Beauty Story can virtually try on and share the latest makeup looks from Coty looks via an app (Perfect Corp.'s YouCam AR Makeup Mirror). The space includes a prestige beauty section conceptualized by Space NK founder Nicky Kinnaird, an outpost of cult Manhattan salon Hayday offering 30-minute custom facials, complimentary skin consultations and related products, and a Sally Hansen DIY nail bar where customers can try out new looks.

Bold wall displays (by Instagram artist Adam Hillman) form a colorful backdrop for the featured merchandise. There are several displays or activations that encourage interaction, and even rewarding it with complimentary products. A Vengo Labs digital vending machine, for instance, dispenses a complimentary Rimmel product for guests who pose for a photo against the in-store backdrop.

Beauty Story will be open through October 8. During that time, it will host various events, including makeup tutorials and touchups, and a Business of Beauty session featuring Kinnaird, who will discuss trends, insights and lessons about the current state of the beauty industry.

Founded by Rachel Shechtman, Story takes the editorial viewpoint of a magazine, and changes its merchandise and theme similar to a gallery.

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