Monday, October 17, 2005

BREAKING NEWS: Columbia Mall has actually found food court tenants!

Well, it looks like Columbia Mall's new food court isn't going to be empty after all. The owners of the mall have been scrambling to find tenants for the hard-to-fill development. They must have lowered the asking price for rent or something, because they have just signed four vendors. They are:

Mrs. Fields Cookies
Magic Chopstix
(don't ask me...I've never heard of it either)

I'm so excited! Columbia Mall is going to have a food court AND a Macy's!!!!

I'm happy to say that my earlier post (where I expressed my lament that the food court might not have any tenants at all for quite some time) has been proven wrong! Now if we would just hear something about that new movie theater...


UNDstudent said...

I don't know if you have been to Macy's, or Bloomingdales, or Nordstroms, or Marshall Fields, or Saks... but, Macy's is on the bottom. It's the cheapest department stores. Federated Department stores owns Bloomingdales, but they didn't convert it to a Macy's for a reason--it's a classy department store with $300 hats. Macy's doesn't sell $300 hats. During the past few years all the Bon Marches were converted to Bon-Macys, and then again to just Macy's. Marshall Fields was struggling, and had been sold to Target, and then Target sold it... so financially this is great. For customers, not so great. Like the article said, "it will be better able to compete with Wal-Mart." Generall the people who buy clothes at department stores and not the people who buy clothes at Wal Mart... alas, Grand Forks has dropped a notch.

GrandForksGuy said...

Do you really think $300 hats would sell in Grand Forks or in almost any other market that Marshall Fields currently serves other than somes parts of Chicago and the Twin Cities? No, of course not. If Federated had decided to rebrand all of the Marshall Fields stores as Bloomingdale's and sell only that price point of merchandise in them, the converted stores would have failed quickly and utterly. Marshall Fields has always been a Midwestern department store and most people living in their market area are not willing or able to spend $300 for a hat. Overall, Macy's current offerings are in line with, or exceed, Marshall Fields stores. Grand Forks has not "dropped a notch". A national company is making national decisions regarding national nameplates and national brands - it really doesn't have that much to do with local affairs.

It is painfully clear to anyone who follows the retail business world that the American department store as we know it is hanging on for dear life. Wal-Mart and Target have all but driven the last nail in the coffin. Seems to me like a refreshed Macy's with hundreds of new stores across the nation and national adverstising campaigns (for the first time ever) is the last best hope for the department store as we know it.

By the way, be glad Federated didn't decide to close our Marshall Fields as they have done in Bismarck.

UNDstudent said...

No, I don't think anyone in Grand Forks is going to buy a $300 hat. Nor are many people in NYC, or anywhere else for that matter. I don't want anything rebranded as a Bloomingdales.

What I am saying is that Federated Department stores owns several department store brand names. Macy's is their cheapest. I sincerely wish they would have kept the Marshall Fields name. To me it is a big company coming in and wiping out a historic department store chain. My mom went to Marshall fields when she was in college, and I too have gone there.

Perhaps the GF Marshall fields isn't as nice as other ones (which makes sense, GF is a small town, and there simply aren't enough customers to support a fancy dept store), but Macys is definitely a drop down. A man was clipping his toe nails in our new Macy's!!! Downtown. And no one did anything about it. That would have never happened before.

And you write that it doesn't have anything to do with local affairs. Yes, it's a national company doing business and doing what's best for them. However, it does have a local effect. If they close a location, people will loose their jobs. Just because it isn't a local company doesn't mean it doesn't have an effect on local affairs.

You also wrote about american department stores and their financial situation. I think you must have missed the part of my post where I wrote, "so financially this is great. For customers, not so great." ?

As long as Department stores attempt to compete with Target and Walmart, I think they will fail. You can't compete with Walmart. What you have to do is realize that your customers and not walmart customers (for the most part). Our (mainly) West Caost chain of Nordstroms realized this. They were struggling, and near death, and they reinvented themselves (they actually used "reinvent" in their new ad campaign. They now have little designer boutiques inside their stores, more pricey lines, yuppie cafes.

And before you go off on me again, I'm not saying they should do this in North Dakota. They shouldn't. There's no market for that sort of thing. It would be a grand failure.

I think the point of this post, and my previous post, is that the change from Marshall Fields to Macy's is a loss for the midwest, and yet it is inevitable. Companies do what is in thier best interest, not their customer's.

GrandForksGuy said...

I will admit that, on the national level, it is unfortunate to lose regionally or nationally recognized department store names. It was sad for a lot of us to lose the Dayton's name a few years back when Target rebranded them as Marshall Fields. However, like you said, the change is really inevitable in today's economy and retail atmosphere.

My interest in the changeover from Marshall Fields to Macy's is more locally focused. When our Marshall Fields becomes a Macy's this year, I don't feel that it will be a great loss for us. Our Macy's should be just as nice as our Marshall Fields. As you said, our Marshall Fields is smaller than others in the chain and doesn't sell the exclusive lines found in others. I don't see too much changing for us.

Anonymous said...

I hope the Macy's emp[loyees will still spit on customers, as the Marchall Fields do.

GrandForksGuy said...

Spit on customers? That's never happenned to me...