The resurgence of the city of Atlanta has a new partner: home furnishing store CB2.
The company, an offshoot of Northbrook, Ill.-based Crate & Barrel, will soon open a 14,000 square-foot store in the new 12th & Midtown mixed-use development off Peachtree Street in the heart of Atlanta. It will be the seventh CB2 store, joining locations in Chicago, New York, Los Angeles and Berkeley, Calif. Founded in 2000, the concept caters to young, urban and hip consumers and its prices are slightly lower than at traditional Crate & Barrel stores—a fact the company says will help it develop a solid customer base in the Midtown area when the store opens in the summer of 2010.
“The affordability and accessibility of our CB2 collection really resonates with customers these days,” says Vicki Lang, Crate & Barrel spokeswoman. “ The brand is doing very well, so this is a good time to expand our store market presence.”
Lang says the company chose the Midtown area because of its “great potential and energy,” calling it “the perfect urban environment for our brand.” The area has been experiencing new popularity among the young and urban as more people choose to live closer to work and forgo a long commute to the suburbs.
Shirley Gouffon, senior vice president at Selig Enterprises Inc.—the developer of the 12th & Midtown project—says the area has changed in the past five years as more multi-family residences have been built and density has increased. Now, she says, there is not enough retail to support the higher density. “Midtown is probably the most under retailed part of the country right now,” she says.
The seven-phase, $2 billion development still has a long way to go before it is complete. Gouffon, whose job entails convincing retailers to come on board, has announced five tenants for Phase 1 of the project, which includes about 50,000 square feet of retail space. CB2 is one of those tenants. Gouffon says CB2 was a perfect fit, mainly because the store is unique to Atlanta.
Although Atlanta residents are familiar with Crate & Barrel, many have not seen the merchandise in a CB2, which varies fairly substantially and has more options for shoppers looking for furniture that can fit in small spaces. The demographics of the area, she says, also roughly match CB2’s core customer—about 33 years old, urban and college-educated.
Gouffon says for companies like Crate & Barrel, Midtown can be a great opportunity to build a captive audience. “It’s never easy with today’s economic challenges. So many retailers do have expansion on hold,” she says. “But for those retailers that are expanding, they really see the benefit of Midtown.”