Tuesday, July 21, 2020

[IN NOT SO PLEASANT COMPANY] American Girl Closes Three Boutiques, Atlanta Among Them

The American Girl Boutique & Bistro at North Point Mall has closed.  The 12,000 square foot shop and eatery was the first such concept by the brand to ever open when it debuted in 2007.  The North Point opening was soon followed by a  location at The Galleria in Dallas, Texas.  
In the years since, the company, owned by toy powerhouse Mattel (originally launched by Pleasant Company) , has expanded to more than a dozen other locations but the current COVID-19 pandemic on top of changes in retail and consumer habits has led to the closure of not only the Atlanta outpost, but two other boutiques around the county. 
 
All stores are still listed on the American Girl website with the Alpharetta outpost also listed on the North Point Mall website, but it is the American Girl site that informs would-be guests of the location's permanent, rather than temporary, closure.  
"This store location is permanently closed. It has been our privilege to serve this community for more than a decade. We thank you for your loyalty to American Girl and look forward to continuing our valued relationship with you. You can always find us open at americangirl.com, or we hope you’ll visit us at one of our other U.S. retail locations."
In addition to the Alpharetta closure, American Girl stores in Lone Tree, a suburb of Denver, Colorado, closed at Park Meadows and another in Overland Park, Kansas at Oak Park Mall did too.  The three July closures come after the company shuttered its stores at Natick Collection outside Boston and at Mall of America outside Minneapolis last year, and at Chesterfield Mall near St. Louis in 2018.   

The Atlanta outpost, which opened incredibly strongly, was seen as an anchor of the suburban mall.  The outpost drew daughters, mothers, grandmothers, aunts and more not only from metro Atlanta, but it was actually a regional destination: a reason to visit Atlanta.  The subsequent opening of locations at SouthPark Mall in Charlotte in 2014 and at CoolSprings Galleria near Nashville in 2015 surely cannibalized would-be customers from the Alpharetta location.  

We have reported previously that North Point Mall and the greater North Point corridor was seemingly doing just fine even as retailers, restaurants and other businesses closed and in many cases they were soon replaced.  That said, the closure of American Girl and the Disney Store and the imminent closure of Sur La Table will be big holes to fill.  American Girl and Sur La Table are two of eight businesses that North Point Mall refers to as "Key Tenants" on their website.  

Several one-time North Point Mall tenants fled the mall in recent years for the shinier, newer, outdoor Avalon development.  Those departures, which included Pottery Barn, Gap, Janie & Jack, and Williams-Sonoma, also included Apple, which likely represented the biggest blow to the mall.  

In years past, the mall, then owned by GGP, had success in backfilling former department store and junior anchor spaces with successful new tenants. These efforts included their replacement of a former Belk department store in late 2011 with a new Von Maur department store, and the late 2012 replacement of a former Parisian department store with a new state-of-the-art 12 screen AMC Theatres.  Fast-fashion retailer H&M nearly doubled the size of their existing North Point Mall outpost in 2018 with the debut of their new roughly 22,000 square foot store.  

GGP was purchased in 2018 by Brookfield Properties who has since the purchase announced several initiatives and projects for the Alpharetta mall.  Following the 2018 closure of Sears at the mall, Brookfield announced a significant redevelopment plan for the 83 acre site that Sears previously occupied.  The plan includes about 300 apartments, more than 20,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, and the addition of new play areas, green space, trails and other outdoor amenities.  

Spaces, a co-working business owned by Regus, is also expected to open in the mall in place of former retail space but while it remains listed as "coming soon" on the North Point Mall website, it's unclear just how soon [or if] it may actually open.  

Are you surprised by the closure of the American Girl Boutique & Bistro at North Point Mall?  What would you like to see open in place of the American Girl Boutique & Bistro at North Point Mall?  What can the owners of North Point do to get shoppers and diners to return to the mall?

Please share your thoughts below.  

6 comments:

BigRedDogATL said...

The days of overpriced stores selling a niche product are over. Welcome to the new reality.

Within the next year I full expect North Point Mall and several other malls around Atlanta, to become Ghost Towns.

The City of Alpharetta needs to save the money they were planning on spending to redo the sidewalks along North Point Parkway, in front of the mall, and use that money instead to plan a total redevelopment of that entire area. There is going to be way too much empty retail space in the North Fulton - South Forsyth area. Redevelop the area and build affordable starter standalone homes.

Anonymous said...

Goodbye, Reseller of Chineese made merchandise.

Anonymous said...

So sad to see American Girl close. That was such a destination store at one point. Sad about Disney closing and La Sur Table. I used to love North Point Mall and hate to see it losing stores. Until Covid is over I don't think much can be done to possibly these malls.

Anonymous said...

It was a very cute place to take the girls and their friends. There are not many places that are for older girls who are out of the Princess stage so this is very sad they are leaving. I always found it was very busy and the staff so kind so am surprised!!

fbenario said...

Not sure any place that brags about being a destination for grandmothers and aunts helps an area thrive. What next, a new store for matriarchs?

Anonymous said...

The main thing needed at North Point is to improve the traffic flow into and out of the parking area. For some reason, they have in-bound traffic not stopping and all other traffic has to give way to the inbound traffic. This is both inconvenient and dangerous, especially where there is limited visibility. All other malls I have visited have all-way stops at these intersections. Why doesn't North Point do this?

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