Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Points to Ponder

It's been a little hectic for me of late but I have plenty of news in the hopper.  In the meantime, enjoy this...


Will Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman-Marcus merge?
Recent industry chatter indicates that a Neiman-Marcus & Saks Fifth Avenue merger may be closer than we all think.  Given the brand recognition of each retail chain, and the significant real estate overlap, what would the combined company be called and how would they decide what stores to close?  Between Saks at Phipps Plaza and Neiman-Marcus at Lenox Square, which would stay open?  Given both were recently renovated, is it plausible for both to remain open if a merger comes to fruition?  

Why does Charlotte and its SouthPark Mall have a Porsche Design store while Atlanta is without?
Porsche will open their new North American headquarters in Atlanta in late 2014 so maybe a Porsche Design store will follow.  Given that the headquarters will be very close to Hartsfield-Jackson, it's at least possible that the company will opt to open at the airport rather than in a mall.  If a mall location is chosen, Lenox Square or Buckhead Atlanta make the most sense. 

How is it possible there are still Blockbuster Video stores in business?
I recently found myself in Gastonia, North Carolina, traveling back from Charlotte and dropped in to a Blockbuster Video.  While this location was actively closing, there are multiple others in North Carolina still operating, as well as over a hundred in the nation.  Atlanta though, once home to over 50 locations by itself, is now home to a single location on Tech Drive at Indian Trail in Norcross.  Are suburban cities home to other forgotten and thought to be failed chains like Richway, Woolworth and Drug Emporium?  (Although gone from Georgia for over a decade, Drug Emporium does apparently operate in West Virginia as an independent business.) 


What can be learned from the recent closures of all three Lime Fresh Mexican Grills and Atlanta's only Erbert & Gerbert's?
1) Don't come to market with an average product at a higher cost than your competition. 

2) If you're opening the first restaurant of a certain brand in a the market, make sure you have a great location.

3) Test the waters.  If you are entering a crowded market and dumping serious cash into renovation and build outs, take your time and make sure the market will "bite."  Don't overbuild, over-anticipate or over promise.  First rule in hospitality: under promise and over deliver.  

3) Don't let your product differentiation be "that you dig the inner bread from a sub out and place it on top the sandwich"



RAW Denim on the move from Buckhead to midtown.
RAW Denim is moving from East Andrews to the Midtown Mile at 77th & 12th. Given the pending  recent opening of (ROC) and the failures of Thread House, Universal Gear and DrewLewis, are RAW Denim and owner Emily Lipman making the right move?  Can midtown support existing and upcoming retail or are the upcoming openings ill-advised?  



The "Flagship" New Era store closed a few days ago in downtown Atlanta.
Was their Luckie Street location what doomed them, or is it just impossible for a brand like New Era, which really only sells hats and related apparel, to make it?  


Michael Stars has a new location within Phipps Plaza
Michael Stars, a retailer I recently added to my DeathWatch, has relocated to a new space within Phipps Plaza.  The store opened in the Belk wing of the Buckhead mall in the summer of 2010, but never really built out the store.  Insiders say the store has never performed to company expectations and that the new move, to a portion of the former Carter Barnes in the Nordstrom wing, may be temporary.  It's likely this move is only for a short period of time after which the store will close permanently.  



Firkin and Gryphon in Dunwoody has closed for a "remodel."  
Firkin Pubs, a Canada-based restaurant group seems to have found little success in Georgia.  The group once had locations at both The Avenue Forsyth and Lindbergh City Center in addition to Ashford Place in Dunwoody.  The Dunwoody location opened in late 2010 in space formerly home to a Smokey Bones.  The Lindbergh location closed "for renovations" in early 2011 and never reopened.  The Forsyth location closed for good in the summer of 2012 and now the Dunwoody location closes with the promise of a remodel and reopening.  Somehow I think we can go ahead and call this a wrap.  What should replace it?  


25 comments:

glen said...

Richway did not fail, they were bought out by Target.

AJ said...

"Porsche will move their North American headquarters to Atlanta in late 2014" FYI: Porsche's North American HQ is already in Atlanta (on Hammond Drive in Sandy Springs), it's just moving to the new location near the airport.

Atlantan99 said...

@Glen,

Though I was not around for Richway, it is my understanding that the chain was sold to Target after it's parent, Rich's, got into financial trouble. Perhaps that phrasing was misleading and for that I apologize. Thanks for reading the site and for the comment.

Atlantan99 said...

@AJ,

I think we are both right, in a way. Porsche is moving to its new location by the airport and to some, it does mark "a move." You see, in addition to the existing offices here, Porsche is both adding and moving another 100 or so jobs to Atlanta in the process. My apologies for this being unclear as I was not trying to suggest they were moving something totally new to Atlanta.

Thanks for the your comments and readership.

SB said...

Interesting, I must have missed about Firkin closing in Dunwoody. With the intense battle for restaurant space in Dunwoody (see Tin Lizzy's/Another Broken Egg taking non-restaurant space and Chuy's/Capital Grille buying space), I suspect that space will be hotly contested. There is ample parking which is a plus. Not sure which restaurants are missing but it'll probably be a chain or semi-chain.

Anonymous said...

What's amazing to me is that the Firkin Pub exterior is still up at Lindbergh City Center. No one has bothered to take it down. And of course no business has replaced it.

What business in their right mind would open at Lindbergh City Center, knowing about all the failed businesses before them and the lousy parking situation? If the city of Atlanta and MARTA and LAZ Parking could ever figure things out, businesses could thrive there. Until then, I refuse to patronize Five Guys or Taco Mac or any of the other businesses still standing based on principal alone.

Anonymous said...

What is so bad about the parking at Lindbergh?

Also, it's a transit-oriented development. The point was not to offer the world's most convenient parking. It was to create development around the train and pedestrians.

Lee at rootsinalpharetta.com said...

Are you sure it was this group at the Avenue Forsyth? The restaurant there was called "Firkin and Crown". Always thought they were an independent restaurant but I could be wrong.

Anonymous said...

Hahaha, complaining about parking around a MARTA station? That argument still makes me laugh.

Wow, people are so addicted to their cars in Atlanta that they would drive to visit their next door neighbors.

Atlantan99 said...

@Lee,

Same Firkin Restaurant group though I believe the two locations had different owners / management.

Anonymous said...

If restaurant space in Dunwoody is on demand will the space at Perimeter Mall next to Goldfish get filled? It has been vacant for a few years. I bet the rent is high there.

TheJohnP said...

Interesting about New Era closing considering that Big Boi just did a signing there about a week or so ago.

Disco said...

Awesome to see more retail coming to Midtown with the Raw Denim store.

Incredible work by 7712th to get all(?) of their retail spaces let within a month or so of the building actually opening.

Anonymous said...

Firkin

George said...

A few corrections to the Raw Denim info:

It's 77 12th Street (not 77th & 12th). It's not on the Midtown Mile. ROC has been open for weeks.

Anonymous said...

RAW Denim had better have a plan to deter the smash-and-grabbers. Its sad bu these young idiots are targeting Midtown lately.

Anonymous said...

The Dunwoody Firkin was a local independently owned operation. They filed Chapter 7 bankruptcy last week and are history. But that location will be something very exciting for the area once the bankruptcy dust settles soon. The plans are in the works already for a locally run institution opening up an OTP operation in that space that will be hugely successful.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, the thugs will leave Vanquish or whatever that ghetto club across from the Loews calls itself and then drunkenly decide they need to help themselves to some jeans from RAW and Republic of Couture.

Anonymous said...

The discussion of parking at Lindbergh touched on one of my pet peeves. Used to use Lindbergh all the time for MARTA parking (Garmon Deck as the other was co-opted by ATT ages ago) until they turned it into an obstacle course for MARTA parkers and sent us to never never land of the upper floors (when maybe the elevator would work and maybe not). While a few places opened that I might eat at (most quickly disappeared), the very thought of parking there kept me at a distance. With the exception of Eclipse di Luna, the entire Lindbergh area is bereft of any decent restaurant - we never know where to go when seeing a movie at Tara - the Home Depot shopping center is even worse.

Jenna S. said...

I think that if NM & Saks actually do ever merge, there is no way that they'll keep the store opened at both Lenox & Phipps. That would seem like way too much overhead for one company, likely in some danger anyway. As it is, both stores are usually almost empty on the average evening. Great post! Enjoyed all of the other tidbits as well.

Anonymous said...

Believe it or not that is the number two best performing saks in the chain and niemans does very well especially with private shopping events and charity function, not to forget there is a non viewable private area that the grand ladies shop in an lay serious coin down.

Anonymous said...

They aren't merging; Neiman Marcus has already refused. Also, I have a hard time believing Atlanta's Saks is #2 in the chain. I really can't see it beating Bal Harbour's Saks and you know The Flagship has to be #1. Then again, Saks has so many more stores in Florida.

Tres said...

I'm still trying to figure out why Charlotte has TWO Dean and Delucas while there aren't any in Atlanta. I'm sure that it would work in perhaps the old Container Store space or somewhere in that vicinity.

- Tres

Anonymous said...

Neiman filed for an IPO. While that does not eliminate a merger from happening it appears they are working to be independent for now. However, if the markets aren't there and TPG wants to exit then they could possibly revisit the offer from Saks

Anonymous said...

I am not sure why the Frikin didn't work in Lindburgh I thought th eplace was good. Also Taco Mac there is always crowded. Not sure I understand the parking issue. I alwasy have no problem.