Palm Beach retailers expect a robust season
Palm Beach retailers, from Worth Avenue to The Royal Poinciana Plaza and along County Road, are gearing up for what they expect to be a bumper season.
Summer activity was strong and October, a generally slow month, was remarkably busy. Retailers see this as a sign the season will be robust as the COVID-19 pandemic appears to ease.
“I just walked down the street, as I often do, assessing who is moving in, who is moving. There are a lot of stores that are redesigning their stores. Tiffany will be finishing a two to three year project soon, and he looks amazing. Gucci is moving to a new location in the old Brooks Brothers, ”said Michael Maus, vice president of the Worth Avenue Association and owner of Maus & Hoffman, a family-owned men’s clothing store on Worth Avenue for more than 60 years.
Banner summer for many retailers
“But at the end of the day, it’s just a reshuffle of what’s already there. Most of the current vacant homes already have predetermined tenants, which I’m not sure I can say in years past, ”Maus said. “The stores are well stocked, well staffed and ready to cope with the seasonal influx of residents and visitors.
“The positive trajectory last season got us through the summer. Slow summers kill businesses. We haven’t seen that this year. Businesses survived and prospered, and seasonal vacations were weak, limiting opportunities for many new retailers, ”said Maus.
“Retailers are reporting an exceptional summer season and the start of fall has been incredibly strong. Maus & Hoffman has had its strongest summer for at least 20 years. “
An increase in the number of residents and year-round tourists seeking to avoid the “COVID complexities of international travel” has contributed to the increase in business, Maus said.
Raptis Rare Books is in the process of preparing to move to a new location in Via Roma at 329 Worth Ave. Company officials said in a September interview with the Palm Beach Daily News that the renovations would be completed later this fall.
Matthew and Adrienne Raptis, who opened Raptis Rare Books at 226 Worth Ave. in 2016, are renovating three units in a neighboring building for a new rare book gallery space and a separate take-out cafe. The store will be slightly larger than the original location of Raptis Rare Books, which closed in late August. Buyers can continue to purchase items online until the new store opens.
Unsubscribed to open at the Esplanade
The Esplanade Palm Beach, at 150 Worth Ave., is home to a premium feminine brand, no subscription. The 2,200 square foot space is expected to open this week, said Francis Scire, senior vice president and head of leasing and marketing for O’Connor Capital Partners.
“We are confident the Palm Beach customer will resonate with the brand’s beautifully designed women’s clothing, adding to the wonderful synergy of the property’s merchants,” said Scire.
Unlisted – with stores in East Hampton, New York; Westport, Connecticut; and Greenwich, Connecticut – is owned by American Eagle Outfitters (NYSE: AEO) and is its fourth brand.
“It’s going to be a huge season,” Scire said. “We are 100% leased with the exception of a space on the second floor on which we are negotiating. We are bringing a new tenant to the market, not registered. We believe it will be a record season, just based on indications of the amount of activity that has occurred in September and October, which is atypical. Luxury is doing exceptionally well.
Fivestory arrives at the Royal Poinciana Way
Excitement is building as the opening of Fivestory, an upscale women’s boutique, draws closer this fall at 201 Royal Poinciana Way in a 2,500 square foot space formerly occupied by Evelyn & Arthur, the company said. It has locations on Madison Avenue and in the Hamptons.
Margrit Bessenroth, owner of Salon Margrit, a salon, spa and boutique at 165 Brazilian Avenue, said summer has been slow, but fall has been busier.
“I am looking forward to a fantastic season. We have a great staff and wonderful clients, including new clients, ”said Bessenroth.
Dr Richard Lynn, married to Bessenroth and president of the Palm Beach Midtown Business Association, said, “Everyone is getting ready for a great time here. There appears to be increased rental activity in some of the vacant stores on the west side of South County Road, between Royal Palm [Way] and brazilian [Avenue]. Our association was successful in defending two of our members having problems with the city, and the city was very cooperative in solving the problems.
The Royal Poinciana Plaza, 340 Royal Poinciana Way, is in the process of preparing at least five new stores to open before Thanksgiving, said general manager Lori Berg.
Coming in instead are La Ligne, women’s clothing; Marissa collections, designer clothes, shoes, jewelry and accessories for women and men; Nili Lotan, clothes for the modern urban woman; Veronica Beard, designer clothing, footwear and accessories for women, and FRAME, denim and clothing for women and men.
“We couldn’t be more excited for this coming season. We have performed well throughout the 2020-21 season, and the energy at Palm Beach is even more palpable this year. We have amazing store openings, a very exciting artist collaboration for our iconic surfboard vacation tree, and phenomenal partnerships with charities, ”said Berg.
“Square guests can also look forward to the reopening of Oscar de la Renta, Lingua Franca and TooJay’s Deli in new locations in the square,” said Berg.
“Business was incredible last season and we expect this trend to continue,” said Berg. “We don’t have any retail vacancies in our main square. “
Tenants at the Royal noticed an increase in sales earlier this year, with new young families due to be back for the start of the school year, she said.
“There are so many exciting things going on at the Royal this season. We’ve launched a fabulous Free Wee Library, our fun and creative take on traditional little free libraries, as well as a series of Sunday events called Aprés Beach, ”said Berg.
The Wee Free library, adjacent to Celis Produce, is housed in a chewing gum pink Smeg fridge. The top door holds children’s books, pencils, coloring books, and bookmarks. The freezer stores popsicles.
Aprés Beach gives groups the option to book a cabin for up to six people designed by a Royal retailer and choose from a selection of shared sips and bites from a special Sant Ambroeus menu. The event also features live music and entertainment, bags and prizes, pop-up shops, professional Capehart photographs and more.
Avenue of value
Many longtime Palm Beach merchants are booming. This list includes Worth Avenue mainstays such as Maus & Hoffman, Kassatly’s, Richter’s and Betteridge Jewelers, all of whom are well past the 50-year mark. The must-see Ta-boo of Worth Avenue, 221 Worth Ave., will be celebrating its 80th anniversary this year.
“Looking at Worth Avenue as a brand, we see an increased interest in Worth Avenue Magazine; our social media; and businesses that are not on Worth Avenue in partnership with our merchants, hotels and restaurants, especially other luxury markets, ”Maus said.
The Worth Avenue Association and its members have partnered with the Historical Society of Palm Beach County.
“We may be a destination to shop, dine and stay, but we are surrounded by architectural beauty and great history that both organizations want to celebrate,” Maus said.
Scheduling this season includes social events hosted by Young Friends of Historical Society at venues off Worth Avenue. The popularity of historic Worth Avenue walking tours led by Rick Rose has skyrocketed and plans are underway to expand it.
The city has approved some sort of Christmas lineup on Worth Avenue, with the format to be determined if it’s tree lighting or something else, Maus said.
“Palm Beach and Worth Avenue are flagship brands. Everyone wants a piece, ”Maus said.