Tag Archives: shopping

LL Bean outside Rochester

9 Jul

In 2007 and 2009, I offhandedly suggested that LL Bean might be just as much of a draw as Bass Pro. After all, there are Bass Pros all over the place – the closest LL Bean was in Albany, which is too far for frenzied Torontonians’ shopping day trips. Plus, LL Bean isn’t a hunting/fishing niche retailer. It’s a clothing/lifestyle store for outdoorsy types who like the whole New England preppy thing, and maybe a spot of flyfishing. Its appeal is broader than Bass Pro’s.

Well, we’re getting an LL Bean, but you’ll have to drive an hour down the Thruway. The Eastview Mall in Victor (conveniently located near the easternmost 490/90 interchange) is getting an LL Bean today.

That means LL Bean actually selected a site, signed a lease, and opened a store. Of those three things, after 7 long years Bass Pro has managed to only accomplish one of them in Buffalo. WTF.

The Walden Galleria is a Liberal Trial Attorney Who Wants to Raise Your Taxes

13 Nov

So, I listened to this minute-long ad promoting shopping on Elmwood Avenue in Buffalo.

It starts out, “That big mall, in Cheektowaga, has about 200 stores. The Elmwood Village also has about 200 stores”. There’s even a dopey, “hello!”

I’ve seldom heard a negative ad for a retail destination, but I guess this qualifies as one. The Boulevard Mall doesn’t tell you why McKinley sucks. It tells you what stores are there. The malls have their place, as does Elmwood and every other store, mall, and shopping center in the area. Don’t tell me why I’m stupid to shop at the mall, tell me why I should come to Elmwood.

Also, going through the list of “about 200” stores listed in the Elmwood Village Association directory, we have entries such as Buffalo Gynecology Service, a Blockbuster, some dry cleaners, a few lawyers and law firms, a few banks and realtors, and a couple of churches. There are, to be sure, some very excellent shops along Elmwood worthy of your patronage and support, and I would have prefered an ad that extolled the virtues of the street as a destination. Instead, I get someone pissing on my leg and telling me it’s raining.

Then again, you can’t get a pap smear or buy a house at the Walden Galleria.

(Title with apologies to BRO commenter AtwaterLouse, who suggested the ad sounded like a Chris Lee/Alice Kryzan special).

Buffalo Niagara Product Placement

12 Oct

Certainly travelers from Canada come in their thousands across the border to see our scenic shopping malls and Target plazas, buy some tchotchkes and get the hell out of dodge. It would, indeed, be beyond intelligent and one of those oh-gee-why-haven’t-we-been-doing-this-for-decades kind of ideas to put a visitor’s center in the Walden Galleria to encourage shoppers to actually check out some of the other attractions we have – even shopping-related ones. Just like a day-tripper to Toronto may bypass Queen West for the Yorkdale Mall, many Canadians bypass East Aurora for Target.

It is very nice of Macy’s to offer to set up and run a satellite CVB office in the Walden Galleria, but in the customer service section? The place where you go to make returns, go to the bathroom, or pay your Macy’s credit card?

The CVB has a budget, and the mall has kiosks. It would seem to me to be a better idea to put a visitor’s kiosk somewhere on the first floor in a relatively visible spot – much like the new Dippin’ Dots stand. That way, you’re guaranteed foot traffic.

So, it’s all very nice but could probably be exponentially more effective.

Try. Something. Different.

15 May

The Buffalo News reports today on a retail project that is proposed to be built on Transit Road in Clarence near County Road. Given the demographics surrounding that area, it’s not surprising that projects such as this are being proposed for that corridor.

The Wellesley, Massachusetts-based developer has a website up showing renderings of the proposed “Carriage Court at Clarence”.

The renderings make it appear to be an upscale shopping plaza (.pdf). Nothing particularly new or different. So, I have a suggestion.

Do you see in the site plan (.pdf) how the bulk of the parking is surrounded by retail? How about reversing that. Put the parking in the back, put the retail in the center, and run a tree-lined little pedestrian area down the middle, sort of like how Benderson proposes to do with its Amherst Centre project on Maple (.pdf).

In 2008, this is how you do it:

Also, kudos to both Benderson and Berkshire for putting the plans on their websites so that one doesn’t need to traipse to town board meetings to see what’s what.

Paint by Numbers Morning Sky Looks So Phony

7 May

[UPDATE: This is a post from March that I’m promoting back to the top (with new title to fit this week’s theme) because of the continuing drama in Amherst Town Hall regarding Benderson’s proposed lifestyle center project at Maple near North Forest. A vote earlier this week was pushed off to June 2nd to permit county involvement with traffic mitigation issues. Benderson recently made some changes to the design of the 34-acre, $44 million mixed-use project.

The comments tend to talk about the fakeness of the project versus the authenticity. Given that Amherst actually has no town center – the Village of Williamsville technically being its own governmental entity – as fake as it is, at least it’s not just another shopping plee-yeea-za.]

Benderson Development recently bought the parcel of land formerly known as the Buffalo Shooting Club. They’re planning to build Western New York’s first lifestyle center there. A lifestyle center is a new form of shopping center that resembles a village downtown. It encourages walking, and usually features nice amenities and upscale shops. Cleveland’s Legacy Village is an example (careful – loud music).

Predictably, there is opposition to the proposal from neighbors and others. Some complain that Benderson has loads of vacant storefronts throughout Amherst – a valid concern, for sure. Others are more NIMBY-ish. Like these people.

Anyone who knows Maple Road in that area knows that we’re not talking about some bucolic little country lane. It’s a four-lane road with a suicide lane in the middle. The Pepsi Center is right there. UB North is walking distance (as are its thousands of well-financed students). Just over the 290 to the east is a bona fide retail strip.

But what’s amazing to me is that there had been a shooting club there. People with guns shooting at pieces of clay thrown in the air, or at targets set up. Shooting? OK. Lexus SUVs coming to visit Trader Joe’s (which is rumored to be opening its first WNY location at this location)? No good.

Not only that, but this will be a mixed-use facility. The plan includes a new hotel, some non-retail commercial space, and even condominiums. In my mind, a development like this can only enhance the value of the surrounding neighborhoods, offers them a new amenity, and adds value to the town’s tax base. The Benderson plan is here in a large .pdf.

All Things Buffalo wrote about lifestyle centers as being evidence of an evolution in shopping.

The fact that it’s taken Buffalo 10 years to pick up on a nationwide trend is amusing, and the NIMBYism is something that must be anticipated. I’m in favor of this project, because it will enhance the quality of life in Amherst, and will most likely have a positive effect on nearby property values.

Build it.

Looking for a Wii?

4 Dec

console-wii.jpg

So, you’re in the Buffalo area and you want a Wii?

We got ours at Target on Transit. How?

1. Go to your local retailer and ask them when they get their shipments in. (Back in November, Target got them in on Sunday morning at 8:00.)

2. Get in line around 7:00 AM (maybe earlier, depending on the temporal proximity to Christmas), and wait for the doors to open.

3. Walk out the door with your Wii, or try next week.

Get an extra Wii remote and two nunchuk controllers while you’re at it.

Strong Loonie Hurting Canada

4 Dec

shop_us_canada_070924_ms.jpg What’s good for the Galleria is evidently pretty bad for Windsor and Valcourt.

While local shops and tax receipts are flush with cash spent by Canadians seeking bargains on this side of the border, the Canadian economy is taking quite a beating. Think of it this way: Pick up a book. It probably has separate prices in Canadian and US dollars, and the Canadian price is always higher because historically it was worth 20-30% less than the greenback. Not so anymore. Now, go to the Walden Galleria. On the lower level not far from the Hugo Boss store is a used Jaguar from West-Herr. There’s a new sign on there targeting Canadian buyers. Sure, they’d have to pay cash or arrange for domestic Canadian financing of some sort, but West-Herr can give them a massive deal on a used (or new) car. Due to NAFTA, a car produced in North America is duty-free, to boot. Used to be Americans would shop through Canada to get a deal on a Honda produced in Allison, ON. Now, that same Honda is significantly cheaper in the US, even though it was built in Ontario.

I don’t expect the disparity in the currencies to last that long or remain this wide for much longer, so retailers on this side of the border better take advantage of this while they can.