Make us your home page
Instagram

Dillard's and Macy's jump gun with Wiregrass openings

Marquita Huff, 25, helps prepare the men’s department at the Macy’s in the Shops at Wiregrass on Tuesday. The Wesley Chapel store’s grand opening will be Saturday. Promotions and celebrity appearances are planned.

KERI WIGINTON | Times

Marquita Huff, 25, helps prepare the men’s department at the Macy’s in the Shops at Wiregrass on Tuesday. The Wesley Chapel store’s grand opening will be Saturday. Promotions and celebrity appearances are planned.

WESLEY CHAPEL — Ready or not, the first new full-line department stores to open in the Tampa Bay area since 2001 debut this week at ground zero of the region's stalled new housing boom.

Dillard's and Macy's won't wait for the Shops at Wiregrass grand opening Oct. 30. Both stage their own grand openings Saturday at the region's first big new Main Street lifestyle shopping center just east of Interstate 75 on State Route 56 at Bruce B. Downs Boulevard.

To break in the staff, Dillard's soft opening begins today. Macy's follows on Thursday.

Forest City Development Corp. cut deals for the stores five years ago when east Pasco County's torrid parade of instant subdivisions seemed to have no end. Even though the housing market went south and took the economy along for the ride, department store executives remain confident there's enough affluence and population to support the new stores.

But privately they fret over how many residents have the jobs and financial security to provide the stores with expected combined first-year sales of up to $60-million.

There was no shortage of job seekers. Dillard's drew 2,500 applications, interviewed 1,500 prospects and hired 180. Macy's had similar numbers to fill 150 jobs.

This weekend the stores will pull out the giveaways and promotions to get shoppers in the mood. Celebs are coming: Oleg Casinni dress designer Georgio Infantidis at Dillard's on Saturday and What Not to Wear TV star Clinton Kelley at Macy's on Sunday.

Both stores brim with each chain's latest store design theory. They represent slightly smaller prototypes designed to fit the new type of outdoor lifestyle shopping centers developers use to replace the bigger, enclosed mall. But the changes are more subtle than Dillard's choice of a marble floor and Macy's opting for polished, white porcelain stone.

In their zeal to make shoppers think they can get in and out just as fast as any discount store, both embraced an unembellished, wide-open look. There's parking garage access to make the walk inside shorter. Macy's sports a covered walk to the door.

"Shoppers, especially teens, know exactly what they came for and want to get in and out fast," said Kathy Appleton, who is managing her 14th Dillard's. "Today we're all about less is more and not being cluttered."

Indeed, Dillard's designers Tuesday yanked several fake potted palms Tuesday from atop the cosmetic counter as violating the theme. And Macy's banished those shiny, white palm tree columns as a throwback to the days when it was Burdines.

"What makes this store so different than our mall stores is how we've made it so easy to shop," said Frank Molfetto, vice president of store planning for Macy's Florida. "Everything is kept right in your line of sight. We really don't need directional signs."

Wide, open aisles, plush fitting rooms and edited (as opposed to dense-packed) selections have been the trend for five years. But Macy's continues to fine-tune.

The directional store maps and price-check kiosks now light up to stand out even more. Comfy fitting room furniture grew to seating for groups for female pals to try things on and ask friends' opinions.

To save shoppers' time, Macy's fragrance department for the first time is organized by lifestyle, not brand. Inspired by cosmetics chain Sephora, fragrances are grouped in categories from traditional to trendy.

Other new sights:

• The interior lighting level inside Dillard's is twice as bright thanks to LED lighting.

• One of the first FAO Schwarz toy shops inside a Macy's includes a colorful layout that's headed for all local Macy's by the holidays.

Mark Albright can be reached at albright@sptimes.com or (727) 893-8252.

Dillard's and Macy's jump gun with Wiregrass openings 10/21/08 [Last modified: Wednesday, October 22, 2008 3:20pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Judge throws out $458,000 condo sale, says Clearwater attorney tricked bidders

    Real Estate

    CLEARWATER — Pinellas County Circuit Judge Jack St. Arnold on Monday threw out the $458,100 sale of a gulf-front condo because of what he called an "unscrupulous" and "conniving" scheme to trick bidders at a foreclosure auction.

    John Houde, left, whose Orlando copany was the high  bidder June 8 at the foreclosure auction of a Redington Beach condo, looks in the direction of Clearwater lawyer and real estate investor Roy C. Skelton, foreground,  during a hearing Monday before Pinellas County Circuit Judge Jack St. Arnold.  [DOUGLAS R. CLIFFORD   |   Times ]
  2. Pasco EDC names business incubator head in Dade City, will open second site

    Business

    Pasco County economic development officials are busy reigniting their business start-up resources following the departure earlier this year of Krista Covey, who ran the Pasco Economic Development Council's SMARTStart business incubator in Dade City.

    Andrew Romaner was promoted this summer to serve as program director of the Dade City SMARTStart Entrepreneur Center, a start-up incubator service of the Pasco Economic Development Council. He succeeds Krista Covey, who relocated to Texas for another startup position. [Courtesy of Pasco EDC]
  3. Proposed Tampa tax increase prompts second thoughts about Riverfront Park spending

    Local Government

    TAMPA — Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park has a $35.5 million price tag with something for everyone, including a rowers' boathouse, a sheltered cove for beginning paddlers, an event lawn, a community center with sweeping views of downtown and all kinds of athletic courts — even pickleball! — when it opens …

    Expect the $35.5 million redevelopment of Julian B. Lane Riverfront Park to be a big part of the discussion when the Tampa City Council discusses Mayor Bob Buckhorn's proposed budget and property tax increase this Thursday. LUIS SANTANA   |   Times
  4. Record $417 million awarded in lawsuit linking baby powder to cancer

    Nation

    LOS ANGELES — A Los Angeles jury on Monday ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay a record $417 million to a hospitalized woman who claimed in a lawsuit that the talc in the company's iconic baby powder causes ovarian cancer when applied regularly for feminine hygiene.

    A bottle of Johnson's baby powder is displayed. On Monday, Aug. 21, 2017, a Los Angeles County Superior Court spokeswoman confirmed that a jury has ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay $417 million in a case to a woman who claimed in a lawsuit that the talc in the company's iconic baby powder causes ovarian cancer when applied regularly for feminine hygiene. [Associated Press]
  5. Superior Uniform acquires Los Angeles-based PublicIdentity

    Corporate

    SEMINOLE — A subsidiary of Seminole-based Superior Uniform Group has acquired Los Angeles-based branded merchandise company PublicIdentity Inc.

    Superior Uniform Group CEO Michael Benstock
[Courtesy of Superior Uniform Group]