Off Broadway Shoe Warehouse, a discount retailer of trendy shoe brands, is heading to the Valley, but the company isn't saying when.
Kent Gonnerman, director of real estate for Rack Room Shoes - Off Broadway's parent company - said Thursday that the shoe retailer had set its sights on the Valley.
Gonnerman said the company's Rack Room stores have proved popular among consumers here.
"Phoenix is an obvious choice," he said.
Gonnerman first told the news to a group of retail and real estate professionals at a shopping center industry conference in Phoenix last month.
"My sense is it's only a matter of time before that concept becomes up and running in the Phoenix market, but it's not here today and there are no imminent plans, at least in 2008, to enter the Phoenix market," he told the audience.
The Off Broadway stores, which range in size from about 18,000 to 20,000 square feet, each carry between 30,000 and 50,000 pairs of men's and women's shoes and are similar in size and concept to DSW, another discount shoe retailer, Gonnerman said.
The Georgia-based retailer operates about 70 stores nationwide and sells men's and women's shoes at 25 to 60 percent off regular retail prices in department stores, according to its Web site.
Gonnerman also said Thursday that Rack Room Shoes will be opening more stores throughout the Valley, but wouldn't offer details on locations other than to say a deal is in the works to open a store in Fiesta Mall.
BevMo, a specialty alcohol retailer, is also in expansion mode in the Valley.
The company will open at least three more stores in Arizona by the end of the year, according to a representative of the retailer. Just 18 months ago, BevMo - short for Beverages & More - had no stores in the Valley. Today, there are six.
Alan Johnson, executive vice president of real estate and construction, said the company will open a store near Happy Valley Road and Interstate 17, but wouldn't disclose the location of the second store.Johnson said the company is planning to continue expanding in the Valley in the near future, but declined to name locations.
ARCADE STORE CLOSING
The Arcade Store on Broadway Road west of McClintock Drive in Tempe is closing.
The retailer of video games, jukeboxes, pinball games, pool tables and other products, will auction its inventory on Saturday at 10 a.m. at its warehouse at 1700 W. Drake Drive in Tempe, which is near Elliot Road and Interstate 10.
Store officials are closing because they want to transition from a retail sales store to a service and repair business for owners of jukeboxes, arcade game and other products.
WHOLE FOOD STORES GO FOR WORLD RECORD
This is not a typical Retail Corridor item, but I have to pass on information about a strange event that will be happening in a couple of Scottsdale supermarkets Saturday.
At noon in the city's two Whole Foods Markets - at 8688 E. Raintree Drive and 7111 E. Mayo Blvd. - official cheese mongers will "crack open" 2-year-old wheels of Parmigiano Reggiano.
Their Whole Food peers around the world will do the same thing at the same time in hopes of breaking a Guinness World Record for "Most Parmigiano Reggiano wheels ever cracked at the same time."
Bet you didn't know there was such a record already kept.
The entire process of carving into and portioning each 85 pound wheel will take about 30 minutes, and, according to a Whole Foods spokeswoman, "it's a sight to behold."
So for all readers who always wanted to watch a Guinness record broken, here's your chance. It's better than watching somebody jump rope for days.
SHOPPING CENTER REHAB
The Pederson Group is planning a major makeover of Fountain Hills Plaza, the 21-year-old shopping center on the southwest corner of Palisades Boulevard and La Montana Drive. The redesigned shopping center will include a new, state-of-the-art Bashas' Supermarket, and an expanded ACE Hardware store.
The $20 million fix-up is expected to begin this month and be completed in less than a year.
Plans include expanded parking, new shade structures and other amenities aimed at making the dated shopping center "Fountain Hills premiere shopping destination," according to the developer.
Pederson Group president Jim Pederson said most of the existing tenants will stay put, other than a Bedsmart, which is planning to move to a nearby site April 30.
Pederson is the developer of such large Scottsdale area projects as Promenade on the southeast corner of Frank Lloyd Wright Boulevard, but he is possibly more praised by city leaders for tackling aging neighborhood centers and turning them around. The Chaparral shopping center at Hayden and Chaparral roads and Bashas' center at Indian School and Hayden roads are two examples of Pederson's neighborhood center spruce-ups.
INDIAN FOLK ART
The annual Southwest Indian Folk Art Market, an opportunity to meet artists and buy directly from them, is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Heard Museum's Scottsdale branch.
The mini-museum is tucked into a shopping center, The Summit at Scottsdale, 32633 N. Scottsdale Road.
Artists will be selling a wide array of folk art including woodcarvings, jewelry, pottery, mud toys and more. Admission to the market is free.