Lord and Taylor’s Flagship in NYC Goes Dark

Lord & Taylor, one of New York City’s oldest and iconic department stores, has closed up shop after 104 years.

On opening day in 1914, 75000 customers streamed through their front doors.  The amenities of the store included several restaurants, separate roof top lunch rooms for male and female associates, a doctor and dentist office, gymnasium and a concert hall with a built-in pipe organ.

WeWork will be the new tenant.

Muji in PDX

Muji of Japan recently opened a store in a storied retail location.  The store is located in the 100 year old Meier & Frank building in downtown Portland returning a “department store” to this respected storefront.

The name is derived from Mujirushi (no-brand) Ryōhin (quality goods), Muji is noted by its design minimalism, emphasis on recycling, avoidance of waste in production and packaging, and no-logo or “no-brand” policy.

Inventory includes men’s and women’s clothing, home furnishings, food and stationary items. Also included in the store is a coffee shop and an alteration center.

Dressing Room Rich Environment

Often times customers are limited by the number and availability of dressing rooms.  So I had to chuckle when I stopped in a Book Warehouse recently.  The bookstore had FIVE dressing rooms and nothing to try on.  I think a marketing opportunity for the store would be to put up fliers in dressing room lines of other stores in the mall saying  “Come for our dressing rooms and stay for our books.”

It’s magical

Disney storefront

It had been some time since I had visited a Disney Store so when I passed by one the other day I had to stop in.

I wandered through the store checking out how the Star Wars brand has been woven into the Disney merchandising, listening in on customer interactions and observing the joy that the customers exhibited in visiting a little slice of the happiest place on Earth.  Finally, I ended my explorations at the back of the store drawn towards a small crowd gathered there.  There were a dozen people around plush mountain watching the video wall on the back of the store.

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The Ledge & Yeti’s Lair -Klamath Falls, OR

One of the joys of a good road trip is getting well away from the interstates and onto the blue highways of William Least-Heat Moon fame. It is on just such roads that my wife and I found ourselves on a recent trip to Death Valley.

Klamath Grill (highly recommended for breakfast or lunch)

Klamath Grill (highly recommended for breakfast or lunch)

As we drove through southern Oregon, the clock was approaching lunchtime and we were beginning to feel a bit hungry when we heard a radio ad for the Klamath Grill on Main Street in Klamath Falls.  The ad made it sound like a great local place to stop for lunch. We were not disappointed.

This breakfast and lunch spot serves up a nice variety of diner favorites along with some chef specialities such as Swedish Pancakes, Dutch Babies and a Cranberry Club Sandwich.

Waiting for my Huevos con Chorizo to arrive, I picked up a table topper to read.  Anyone who has eaten at a small town diner might recognize these simple booklets with local history, bad jokes, trivia and area advertisements to read while waiting for your food.

As I was reading through the booklet, I ran across a reference to the “only solar-powered outdoor store in the US”, The Ledge.  Checking my phone, I discovered the store was only several blocks from the diner. So we decided we would walk over to the store and take a look around before heading on to Tule Lake and Susanville.

The Ledge

The Ledge

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Kudos to Freddy’s

I lived most of my life in the Midwest. So when I finally caught up with some friends by moving to the PNW, they excitedly shared their love for Fred Meyer, a regional chain owned by Kroger.  There are amazing places similar to  SuperTarget or Walmart Supercenters.  But truth be told, I really never became a regular customer.

But on our recent road trip, we stopped at a Fred Meyer for some supplies and I was reminded of one thing that I, even someone who has never had children, appreciate in the larger Fred Meyer stores, Freddy’s Playland.

Freddy’s Playland is a drop-off day care offering an hour of free care for children 2 to 5 while their parent(s) do their shopping.  What a great service and something that keeps Fred Meyer customers loyal.  Kudos.

R.I.P. Royal

 

By Pat Ament from WikiCommons

Royal Robbins passed away Tuesday in Modesto CA.

Robbins was a one of the climbers from the Golden Age of Yosemite climbers.  In 1968, he and his wife Liz Burkner opened Royal Robbins Mountain Shop in Modesto and later created the  clothing company that also bore his name.

I had the chance to meet Royal at a trade show in the 1980s.  It was his humble nature during our meeting that reminds me that in retailing it is not about you but it is about the customer.  Rest in peace Royal.