TAMPA — WestShore Plaza has signed up seven new stores, including the first Republic of Couture boutique in the Tampa Bay area.
Founded by an Argentine immigrant in 2002, the young Fort Lauderdale chain carries a variety of designer men's and women's brands, including Diesel and True Religion premium jeans, with a South Beach vibe. Decked out in white and black with electric blue lighting, the flashy store will feature DJs spinning music, a waterfall and live mannequins modeling clothes in the window on weekends.
"We create an experience with a variety of brands and styles from $25 Local Celebrity T-shirts to $250 premium jeans," said founder Gaston Garcia, who started with a mall kiosk in Traverse City, Mich. "We're one-stop shopping for an entire look: apparel, shoes and accessories. We even sell some books, lotions and candles."
The store takes over space occupied by the Gap, which closes May 22 to reopen a mile away as Gap, GapKids and BabyGap in International Plaza on May 28.
Republic of Couture joins six other stores new to WestShore Plaza, including the recently opened Pinkberry yogurt shop and Yankee Candle. Coming this summer and fall are the third Cotton On apparel store in the bay area, a Papaya store for juniors and petite women, Gelateria Venezia gelato and a GRIP smoothie and frozen yogurt cafe. Also, Old Navy has just emerged from its remodeling, while Things Remembered and Claire's get total overhauls later this year.
"This is part of the annual renewal all malls go through," said Jay Botsch, who manages the property for Glimcher Realty Trust.
Now 92 percent leased, WestShore Plaza has two more leases in final negotiations.
Mark Albright can be reached at email@example.com or (727) 893-8252.