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Chain Retail Stores Closing at Hampton Village (JCPenny) & Chesterfield Mall (American Girl)

January 8, 2018 Featured, Retail Comments Off on Chain Retail Stores Closing at Hampton Village (JCPenny) & Chesterfield Mall (American Girl)
The only photo of mine I could find fat Hampton Village \, a 5/3 Bank “opening sioon” in November 2012

I can only think of one thing I purchased at JCPenny in Hampton Village since moving to St. Louis in 1990– a pair of Levi’s jeans about 5-10 years ago. My total lifetime purchases at JCPenny stores can be counted on both hands..maybe just one. My husband and I stopped there a few weeks ago so he could look for some jeans — he ended up buying them on Amazon.com. When JCPenny announced in March 2017 they were closing 138 stores nationwide I was shocked Hampton Village wasn’t on the list.

So it was no surprise to me when I saw a friend’s Facebook post about it closing. The last day is January 21st.

The Hampton Village Penney store opened in 1949. The chain had 10 stores in the St. Louis area in the early 1980s, according to Post-Dispatch archives. (Post-Dispatch)

I can’t believe that JCPenny has been renting this 50,000 square foot location for decades. I looked up records online and the real estate arm of Schnucks grocery, DESCO, has owned most to all of Hampton Village since 2011. I think JCPenny got a generous offer for their real estate and stayed around until the end of their leaseback

As I wrote when Macy’s was closing downtown, I’m no fan of department stores. The format of a register in each department within the store is so dated. Reminds me of visiting Sears as a kid in the 1970s. However, I’ve been shopping at the Target across the street once per month for most of my years in St. Louis.

Chesterfield Mall, August 2016

Like JCPenny at Hampton Village, I only recall going inside Chesterfield Mall once — for a free movie screening within the last 5 years.  O don’t recall the movie, but I do recall the mall being dead.That has had an impact on at few stores, with one announcing it will soon close

American Girl, which opened at Chesterfield Mall in 2012, will close the St. Louis County store on Feb. 21.

 The company said it made the decision to close “based on the current challenges facing the mall property, which have adversely impacted our store’s business.”   (Post-Dispatch)

About the time American Girl opened in Chesterfield my great-niece, who lives in Oklahoma, was outgrowing her obsession with the dolls. Whew…no need to visit the store for a birthday gift. My hubby and ‘i were in Chesterfield shopping earlier this month, he bought new shoes at the Nike factory store at a very busy outlet mall — an outdoor mall on a very frigid day.

As a country we invested in drive to retail for decades. Thanks to technology and younger shoppers that is coning to an end. Brick & mortar retail will never cease, it just will look & feel very different.

— Steve Patterson

 

Many Holiday Gifts Came Likely Came From St. Louis’ Jaccard & Co Jewelry

December 25, 2017 Downtown, Featured, History/Preservation, Retail Comments Off on Many Holiday Gifts Came Likely Came From St. Louis’ Jaccard & Co Jewelry

Many of you will likely be giving and/orreceiving gifts today. Some of those gifts may include jewelry.The following post was started about two months ago, it seemed appropriate to finally finish it for today.

Like many, my husband and I are fans of PBS’ Antiques Roadshow program. We watch each new episode and, if nothing else is on, we’ll watch a repeat. Such was the case on Saturday October 14th. That night we watched the 2nd of a 3-part program from Detroit (Season 18 Episode 5). When it started I didn’t anticipate it would take me on a long dive into St. Louis history..but one appraisal did just that.

The appraisal titled 1900 Diamond Brooch with Dranwing was brought in by a man whose grandfather had it custom made in 1900 for his grandmother. His grandparents were living outside of Cincinatti but commissioned a jeweler in St. Louis.  Appraiser Peter J. Shemonsky says “they were a very well-respected and well-know jeweler at the time period.” On the internet I quickly find the segment to watch again so I can catch the jeweler’s name.

Receipt from E. Jaccard Jewelry Co

So I have the name and location (Olive and Sixth), should be easy, right?

My search led me to the FindAGrave.com bio of David Constant Jaccard, which explained many company name changes:

At the age of eleven, David began serving his apprenticeship to the watchmaker’s trade. After his graduation he taught school for a year and then came to the United States to join his relatives Louis and Eugene Jaccard, who were already in business in St. Louis. Louis founded the house under the name of Jaccard & Recordon. Six years later Eugene Jaccard became a partner in the firm, the name of which was changed to Jaccard & Co. In 1844 they sold their establishment, but regained possession of it a year later. Eugene became the sole owner in 1849. In 1853 he admitted to partnership with him A. S. Mermod, and in 1855 D. C. Jaccard, under the firm name of E. Jaccard & Co. The business was continued under this name until 1862. D. C. Jaccard and A. S. Mermod then joined forces and purchased a jewelry establishment under Odd Fellow’s Hall in St. Louis, founding what became one of the most famous jewelry houses in the United States. In 1873 the firm name was changed to Mermod, Jaccard & Co., followed by the name of Mermod & Jaccard Jewelry Company in 1883. The house had its own watch manufactory in Switzerland as well as in Paris and various other cities in Europe.

In 1868 Mr. Jaccard was appointed vice-consul for Switzerland in St. Louis and later acted as consul for that country for two years. During the Civil War, as treasurer of the “Societe du Sou par Semaine,” he distributed over twenty thousand dollars to relieve the wants of those who suffered from the effects of the great struggle then going on, without regard to their sympathies either with the North or the South.

I found a photo of their beautiful building in Washington University’s Eames and Young Architectural Photographs collection.

E. Jaccard Jewelry Company Building – Eames and Young … Washington University in St. Louis E. Jaccard Jewelry Company Building – Eames and Young Architectural Photographs. This building was located on the northeast corner of Broadway and Olive, the future location of the National Bank of Commerce Building, then the Monward Realty Company Building.

But wait, this 1880 photo indicates it’s located on the NE corner  of Broadway & Olive. Broadway is the name used instead of 5th. I hope to learn more about St. Louis’ famous jeweler. Since this post was started we’ve seen another segment with an item from Jaccard — see 1898 Kansas City Fire Chief Presentation Badge.

I’m no stranger to famous local jewelers, everyone who’s lived in Oklahoma City knows BC Clark Jewelers has been around since 1892 — 15 years before statehood. Megan Mullaly even sang their jingle to Jay Leno. I’d still like to know what happened to the Jaccard store.

Have a great day today!

— Steve Patterson

 

Taco Bell Sans Drive-Thru

October 2, 2017 Featured, Retail Comments Off on Taco Bell Sans Drive-Thru

Recently a longtime regular reader sent me an interesting article about Taco Bell’s big 5-year expansion plans — 300+ new locations. Taco Bell’s free-standing building design is instantly recognizable: one=story, parking lot, drive-thru window, plastic interior.

In 1994 a Taco Bell was built at the SW corner of Jefferson & Russell. After it failed it became a short-lived financial institution. The building was later razed and a multi-story daycare built on the site. March 2012

So what’s interesting about hundreds more?

Around 55 to 70 percent of Taco Bell’s revenue comes from orders purchased at the chain’s drive-thru windows. Which is why it’s rather shocking that the Tex-Mex brand plans to open hundreds (300 to 350 locations to be somewhat exact) of new drive-thru-less cantinas by 2022. More specifically, the chain wants to make its presence known in urban areas.

Zeroing in on big cities like Detroit, Pittsburgh, Boston, and New York (including a plan to open at least 50 locations around the city’s five boroughs). The new-and-improved “urban in-line” or “cantina-style” stores to come will be designed to express the local vibes with artwork, open kitchens, and digital menu boards. (Food & Wine)

The first Taco Bell Cantina opened in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood in 2015:

Taco Bell really wanted to be in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood, along Milwaukee Avenue, colloquially-known as “The Hipster Highway” due to the bike lanes and abundance of walking traffic. Corporate waited for a while before closing the deal on the space, which used to be Batteries Not Included, a sex toy shop. (Eater Chicago)

This first Taco Bell Cantina, a franchise, is located in an old narrow building with apartments above, see the exterior here. I hadn’t heard of this location before, and I prefer non-chains. More locations are now open in Chicago and in other cities. One new Chicago location is just 2 blocks from where we stay while in Chicago, so early next year we’ll check it out.

The closest Taco Bell to downtown is t Broadway & Chouteau, a typical suburban model. Downtown lacks a Mexican restaurant, though Downtown West has a couple. Not sure if a franchise owner in our region will e interested in downtown, Grand Center near Saint Louis University, Delmar Loop, or maybe Clayton?   Would they dare open up on Cherokee?

Of course, this could hurt locally-owned Mexican restaurants in areas too urban for a typical Taco Bell. Taco Bell is part of Yum! Brands — KFC & Pizza Hut are corporate cousins — maybe these will also develop an urban model? Expect other chains to also look to urban areas for growth — adding new suburban locations is no longer a viable strategy.

— Steve Patterson

 

Panera’s St. Louis Beginnings Not Part Of Narrative, Sold To European Investment Firm

April 10, 2017 Featured, Retail Comments Off on Panera’s St. Louis Beginnings Not Part Of Narrative, Sold To European Investment Firm
Panera Bread, Carbondale IL

Last week we learned that Panera is being sold to a German European investment firm:

JAB Holding Co., the owner of Caribou Coffee and Krispy Kreme Doughnuts, said Wednesday that it would buy Sunset Hills-based Panera Bread Co. in a deal valued at about $7.5 billion, including debt, as it expands its coffee and breakfast empire.

Unlike other St. Louis-based companies that have been bought up, there were no financial struggles indicating a sale was coming, no succession questions, no negotiation drama. Panera’s sale came out of the blue, even to analysts who follow the industry. (Post-Dispatch)

Panera locations locally are called St. Louis Bread Company, the name used on the Kirkwood location opened in 1987.  As I said in a recent post, Panera CEO Ron Shaich is from Boston — and he continues to live there.

Nationally Panera’s connection to St. Louis isn’t mentioned at all:

Ron Shaich, Panera’s personable chief executive who controls roughly 15 percent of its stock, said one of the biggest attractions to the JAB deal was the chance to take his company private.

“For the last 20 years, I’ve spent 20 percent of my time telling people what we’ve done to grow and another 20 percent of my time telling people what we’re going to do to grow,” Mr. Shaich said in an interview. “I won’t have to do that anymore.”

Investment analysts have speculated for years that Mr. Shaich, 63, has been looking for a way to reduce his role at the company after spending more than two decades building it up from a tiny 400-square foot cookie store in Boston. (New York Times)

The original creator of St. Louis Bread Co., Ken Rosenthal, sold out back in 1993 — his small chain is not part of Panera’s narrative. To be fair, it is mentioned in their history:

The Panera Bread® legacy began in 1981 as Au Bon Pain Co., Inc. Founded by Louis Kane and Ron Shaich, the company prospered along the east coast of the United States and internationally throughout the 1980s and 1990s and became the dominant operator within the bakery-cafe category.

In 1993, Au Bon Pain Co., Inc. purchased Saint Louis Bread Company®, a chain of 20 bakery-cafes located in the St. Louis area.

The company then managed a comprehensive re-staging of Saint Louis Bread Co. Between 1993 and 1997 average unit volumes increased by 75%. Ultimately the concept’s name was changed to Panera Bread.

By 1997, it was clear that Panera Bread had the potential to become one of the leading brands in the nation. In order for Panera Bread to reach its potential, it would require all of the company’s financial and management resources. (Panera)

When the deal closes in the 2nd half of this year, Panera will be a subsidiary of JAB Holdings. The good news is other JAB subsidiaries appear to keep their headquarters where they were when purchased.

— Steve Patterson

 

Grocery Delivery: Easy & Convenient…But Costly

March 6, 2017 Featured, Retail Comments Off on Grocery Delivery: Easy & Convenient…But Costly

The local grocery market is once again changing. Last week I decided to have groceries delivered to try out Instacart, now available in St. Louis.

From late January:

Maryland Heights-based Schnucks is among several retailers partnering with Instacart to offer online ordering and delivery beginning Feb. 16. Other retailers that will begin offering delivery through Instacart locally next month are Straub’s, Shop ’n Save, Whole Foods Market, Costco and Petco, Instacart spokeswoman Rebecca Silliman told the Post-Dispatch on Friday.

Based in San Francisco, rapidly growing Instacart provides delivery service for retailers across the country in 30 markets. It just expanded grocery delivery in Virginia Beach and plans to launch in Nashville soon. Instacart plans to hire at least 50 people in the St. Louis area, Silliman said.

Beginning next month, customers can access Schnucks Delivers’ new service online at Schnucksdelivers.com. Instacart will provide the software, shoppers and drivers. (Post-Dispatch)

I decided to go directly through Instacart, rather than Schnucks’ website — even though I was ordering from Schnucks. I also browsed the selection from Shop-n-Save, Straub’s, & Costco — we sometimes make a Shop-n-Save run and we always go to Costco once per month.  Those who aren’t Costco members can still have items delivered from them.

We needed bread and some produce but I decided I’d get the produce in person the next day. So my order was bread and three other items we’ll eventually eat — just enough to exceed $10.

These 4 items had a subtotal of $10.76. Sales tax was 69 cents for a store total of $11.45

I posted to my personal Facebook wall and a friend from grad school, now living in Chicago, said she loves Instacart, adding:

80%+ of what enters my house is delivered…..going to the store w/2 children in this town is literally insane. Happy to pay the delivery fee rather than spend 2 hours in traffic!!

I can see how a parent of two children might be willing to pay extra for delivery, but let’s look at the cost.

Instacart adds a 10% service fee onto the product subtotal, plus I tipped the delivery person $2. So my “free” delivery cost me $3.08 — 27% above what I would have paid id I’d gone to the store myself.

For my first free order the minimum was only $10, but the regular delivery rate is less for orders of at least $35.

Examples:

  • Orders less than $35, delivered within the hour: $11.99
  • Orders less than $35, delivered in 2 hours or more: $9.99
  • Orders $35 or more, delivered within the hour: $7.99
  • Orders $35 or more, delivered in 2 hours or more: $5.99

For $149 per year (or $14.99/month) you can get free delivery.

PROS

  • Fast & convenient
  • Easy to use website & smartphone app
  • Sale items appear on website/apps

CONS

  • Adds 25%+ to grocery cost
  • Four items arrived in 3 plastic bags
I use reusable bags, so having four items arrive in three bags was hard to accept. Not sure if this was the cashier or delivery person.

I do think grocery delivery will increase, but still be an expensive niche for a while. I invite you to try the service to see what you think. I got a link that will provide you with free delivery plus a $10 credit, click here.  Disclosure: I also get $10 for the first 5 who order using the link. Be sure to tip the delivery person online or in cash because Instacart keeps changing (lowering) their pay.

— Steve Patterson

 

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