Build A Bear Workshop to open October 10th

We first broke news that Build A Bear Workshop was coming to the Miller Hill Mall when CDINDULUTH was taking our very first steps as a development reporting community back in 2008. We continued to talk with corporate representatives on the location in Duluth including with Maxine Clark herself who happens to be the founder of the company. In July of 2012 we reported that plans had become official and in July of this year we reported that the opening would officially happen this October. Well folks, Build A Bear Workshop will officially throw open their doors to a children’s paradise on October 10th at 10am

Build A Bear Workshop has been in the works for over six years and throughout that time the company has changed their planned location to various spaces within the mall. The permanent home for the company will be in the space that formerly housed Torrid which closed up shop last month. Torrid’s store location closed due to underperforming sales about two years after their opening in 2012.

Work has started on outfitting the space now in order to make it into the iconic, brightly colored and whimsical space that Build A Bear Workshop is known for. We reported on the new prototype store design that the Duluth location will feature back in July (if you missed the article you can read it here). Not only will the Duluth location be top of the line in design but it will also probably be one of the most technologically savvy stores (besides an Apple store of course) that you’ll see around. 

If you’re interested in working for Build A Bear Workshop they are now officially hiring for the Miller Hill Mall location. For a sixth year in the row it was voted one of the top 100 companies to work for so we’re assuming it’s a pretty fun job. The Duluth location is currently hiring sales associates, part-time and full time assistant managers, and a store manager. Apply here if you’re interested in working with children each and everyday to make an un-BEAR-ably cute friend. 

Let the countdown begin to creating your.. we mean your child’s… perfect stuffed animal!


Build A Bear Workshop planning Miller Hill Mall location

It looks to be official, Build A Bear Workshop will officially be coming to the Miller Hill Mall this fall on October 3rd.

Don’t believe us, no really, we think we can be quite certain! Check out their website here! We first gained knowledge that Build A Bear Workshop, the iconic custom built stuffed animal store, was looking at the Duluth market for a new store almost six years ago. They first began searching for a suitable space at the Miller Hill Mall before the recession hit, but then, as with all retailers things were put on hold. 

With over 400 locations nation wide and the motto “Where best friends are made”, Build A Bear Workshop is a one of a kind type of store that is guaranteed to make your child or grandchild’s day, week, month, or sometimes even year. People don’t go to the workshop simply to get a stuffed animal, they go for the experience… and might we add that it is quite an experience. New stores have been updated even more so to feature new and exciting technologies that will better connect with children of the modern day. Yes. Technology like touch screens that help in the assembly of a teddy bear. We’re beginning to wonder if this is more so for the kids, or to give the parents something to do too! We’re not complaining!

Now what makes Build A Bear Workshop truly so special? You get the fact that you build your own stuffed animal, but what we don’t think you get is the extent to which that process goes. What the store is known for is custom built bears (and now other various stuffed animals) in which a child selects every aspect of it’s appearance. Literally every single aspect.

First you select your bear or stuffed animal type, then you go to a machine that’s filled with white stuffing in which a worker helps you fill your bear, bringing it to life. You then take a little heart, make a wish upon it and then put that heart inside your bear or stuffed animal, giving it a heart beat and soul. Some of the options even include speaking elements that can be put inside the bear so that when the bear is hugged it speaks. But it doesn’t end there, because let’s be honest, a child’s stuffed animal cannot be naked these days! That’s when you go to small section of the store that features all the clothing elements what could possibly need or imagine. Yes people, you are then going to dress the bear.

It’s quite the creative process and one that has put Build A Bear Workshop on the maps, making it a destination store. While one can imagine that a purchase from this store is not cheap, it’s really the experience you’re paying for. You’re not running in and out grabbing whatever stuffed animal looks good. You’re taking a 45 minute journey to create your child’s perfect stuffed animal. So when it comes down to it, it’s worth the money.

So now that you know a little about the company, you might be excited to find out that Build A Bear Workshop looks to be opening a store at the Miller Hill Mall on October 3rd. The exact location is not clearly stated, however we do have a few speculations. Originally they had wanted to open in the center court in the space the houses Pro Image, or even one of the jeweler spaces. The most logical space now might be the former Trade Secret and Select Comfort spaces that could be combined into one space one Victoria’s Secret moves their temp location out. Otherwise Build A Bear Workshop could easily open a location in the other temp Victoria’s Secret location where ” A Dollar ” store use to be near Sears. 

Whatever the space maybe, it appears as if a lease has been solidified and after many, many, MANY, years of planning, Build A Bear Workshop soon will be delighting the creative minds of children all around the city of Duluth and surrounding areas. In other words, parents… start saving now!

If you have time, check out a quick video of the new store and process of bringing a stuffed animal to life. It’s quite neat to see. 

Victoria’s Secret to remodel; open freestanding Pink store

Victoria’s Secret will undergo a remodel as they separate their Pink store from their full inline store. What does this mean exactly? Pink, the shop that sells all types of loungewear and lingerie, is getting it’s own retail space to call home! Now, this is the opposite of what happens often in the retail world. 

Victoria’s Secret underwent a remodel at the Miller Hill Mall over five years ago which involved a complete store rebuild, along with the addition of the full “Pink” store concept. Pink was introduced in 2002 and has grown today to include sales of over $2 billion. We’d say that’s a sign that a concept store is doing pretty well and it therefore logically makes sense that the company would look to branch off the Pink stores into their own concept stores, unattached to Victoria’s Secret stores. What might be even bigger news is that the current Victoria’s Secret store at the Miller Hill Mall will also receive a full remodel to bring it up to date to the company’s most current prototype. 

Looks pretty nice, right? By creating a freestanding Pink store, the mall will see the closure of Aerie, which is owned and operated by American Eagle (technically their version of Victoria’s Secret). That store’s presence will not leave the mall in it’s entirety as it will consolidate it’s operations within their newly remodeled American Eagle store at the Miller Hill Mall. Aerie’s former space will become home to the new Pink store, while the entire Victoria’s Secret store will undergo a remodel in order to take over the vacated Pink space. That means Duluthians will be seeing not only a larger, freestanding Pink store, but also a larger and brand new Victoria’s Secret store.

Those new Victoria Secret stores look pretty classy… don’t they?

While the Pink store is expected to look very similar to the much smaller/attached store at the current Victoria’s Secret location, the newly remodeled Victoria’s Secret store is expected to look much different. Their current prototype is much heavier in its design elements. The store layout continues to feature multiple rooms, while the interior rooms are either very dark (covered almost entirely in black) or otherwise very light (covered appropriately in pink). The biggest change that customers will notice is the storefront of the new Victoria Secret store. No longer does it feature black and creme marble, but rather now it features an array of vertical pink stripes that are backlit. Yes. The ENTIRE store glows.

The renovations are expected to begin promptly with an opening for Pink expected by the end of the summer and the completion of the Victoria’s Secret space expected to be complete by Fall. 

All we have to say… Expect to see an absolutely stunning Victoria’s Secret store come fall. The new prototype is truly beautiful.

Coldwater Creek to close Miller Hill Mall location

This is one we don’t have to report on often… a closing.

It was reported today that Coldwater Creek will be closing it’s location at the Miller Hill Mall. The location is closing not due to underperforming sales at this location, but rather due to the fact that the company is filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Coldwater Creek will close all 11 locations in Minnesota, including their location at the Mall of America and their outlet location at the Albertville Premium Outlets. An exact date for the closure has yet to be given, however the company looks to stop accepting gift cards and other company coupons by May 7th. A date for the store liquidation sales has yet to be given but has been said to be scheduled to coincide with the Mother’s Day holiday.

Coldwater Creek opened 2007 as the single tenant for the Miller Hill Malls redevelopment of the former Walgreen’s space. The space eventually was split into five different retail spaces housing Five Guys Burgers and Fries, AT&T, Dress Barn, Coldwater Creek, and one space that still remains vacant.  It is unclear at the moment what will happen to the space. It is the most defining part of the lifestyle component in its architectural features and also the largest space. Quite a bit of the front streetscape has been devoted to food retailers, so there is a chance that this space could be perfectly suited for a restaurant. At around 6,000 square feet (if we remember correctly) it means that the space could host a many different formats of retailers or restaurants. It also abuts undeveloped space within the mall that has never had a retailer since it was made available in the 2007 redevelopment, which potentially could be combined with the Coldwater Creek space to allow a mall entry, something many mall visitors have complained about.

We will be sure to continue to keep you updated here at cdinduluth when more news becomes available. 

Sephora to open May 2nd, 2014


There’s a date…and a space already! If you haven’t been inside JCPenney recently you’re probably thinking to yourself “where in the world is this Sephora going?” But, if you’re a frequent JCPenney shopper (or a casual one on the weekends) you’ve noticed the dramatic tarps hanging and the signage stating, officially we might add, that Sephora is in fact coming to Duluth on May 2nd, 2014.

Back on October 5th, 2013 we reported of Sephora’s planned entry into the Duluth market… and of course had a mass of people telling us our news wasn’t true. Well, take a look at the construction barricades and tell us that now! Here’s what you need to know about the Sephora opening in JCPenney. A lot of people are let down saying they wish we were getting a “full” inline Sephora store and that this store won’t be a real store. Think again people, think again! In some ways, Sephora stores inside JCPenney are better in the fact that they receive different product and product that is only made for the JCPenney locations. The other thing that is a plus about Duluth receiving a Sephora with in JCPenney NOW instead of a few years ago, is that the newest prototype is being built here. Which means it is not only a larger space than the older versions, but it also is a “truer” Sephora environment (if that makes sense) meaning it feels less temporary and more like a full inline store. And let us just say one thing about these Sephora JCPenney stores… they look classy as can be.

Another plus to having a Sephora inside JCPenney is that it means that Sephora is paying attention to our market now. There are multitudes of malls in the U.S. that have both a Sephora in JCPenney along with an actual inline Sephora location in the mall. Just being JCPenney is getting Sephora doesn’t mean that it rules out the possibility of having a full Sephora one day in the mall. 

You really can’t miss the new Sephora store if you are coming into JCPenney as it sit right at the entry from the mall. You’ll also notice it’s size… it’s big. Sephora took the place of part of the women’s clothing area, specifically the Liz Claiborne area (don’t fret ladies, your clothing just moved towards the front door) therefore it’s in an easily accessible place from both store entries.

Applications for positions within the new location are available here.

So all you Sephora fans… and men don’t forget they carry men’s products and an extensive line of colognes too… mark those calendars for May 2nd 2014 when Sephora will officially call Duluth home. 



Renovations galore!

It looks like lately it’s been time for an update for most retailers in the city. It seems as if with the surge of new names entering the market that tenants that have called Duluth home for many years now are taking the time to spruce things up.

Duluth welcomed one of Taco Bell’s very first locations of its new prototype last year. Taco Bell completed an extensive remodel at its 1031 W. Central Entrance location, a location that had been open for almost 20 years with no update whatsoever occuring. Patrons will be pleased with the new location, a remodel that had been in the works since the early 2000’s. Sporting a very modern look, complete with glowing LED panels covering the facade, no more is there the bright orange southwestern look of Taco Bell’s past, rather a clearly modern image has been introduced to give the chain new life.

Another fast chain is almost done with the renovation of two of their Duluth locations. Burger King has taken on investing over a million dollars into it’s location in order to update them to the current Burger King prototype. The new interiors take a modern approach featuring modern faux leather seating, stylish light fixtures, and various uses of sleek tile as accents. The locations are also one of the first fast food retailers in the area to use digital menus (TV screens). Gone is the brick, the bright blue accent colors, and the sloped roofs, now the exteriors feature stone, stucco, and warm neutral tones with red becoming the new accent color. The locations on Central Entrance and also out on 21st Avenue West were both remodeled as part of an extensive rebranding of Burger King’s image in Duluth. You have to remember that McDonalds in the past three years invested significantly in remodeling their Duluth area locations, including the rebuild of two locations, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Burger King is upping their anti. Burger King has invested $1.5 million in the renovation of the two locations in Duluth, and will invest $1 million more in the rebuilding of the London Road location. That location will be smaller than the current location on site at roughly 3,700 square feet. The move is taking place so that a retail strip center can be constructed on site which will house four new tenants to the area. The new Burger King will be a little more embellished than the two remodels we are assuming in the fact that it will take on the full Burger King prototype being displayed across various locations in Duluth.

We posted a few months back on American Eagle Outfitter’s remodel that will be occurring at the Miller Hill Mall. Now that the holiday season is over, the remodel is ready to begin. Look for work to begin this month with a completion date set for Late March / Early April 2014.

Storefront at Killeen Mall in Texas, Duluth's will be loosely based off of this design.
Storefront at Killeen Mall in Texas, Duluth’s will be loosely based off of this design.

French cosmetic chain to enter Duluth market


It’s 150% official, an associate for Sephora says, that Duluth finally will be graced with the presence of the Sephora brand later this year. While the brand won’t be opening an official stand alone Sephora store, they will be almost there with a location that will open inside JCPenney’s at the Miller Hill Mall.

If you’re unaware of the Sephora brand, you might want to take a seat while we describe to you the company that is taking the U.S. by storm. Entering the U.S. market in 1998, Sephora now has over 1,700 locations in over 30 countries wordwide. The average Sephora store carries over 100 different brands, including their own Sephora brand. But it’s not just cosmetics we are talking about here. Oh no. They carry a whole slew of things. We’re talking about haircare, skincare, body products, fragrances, color, and of course, makeup. Sephora locations quite possibly could be best known for are their extensive lines of perfume and colognes that they carry. And yes, they carry products for men too!

So now let’s explain how Sephora could possibly enter the Duluth market…. without having an actual stand alone store. In October of 2006 Sephora began opening stores within JCPenny’s across the country. While these locations within JCPenney carry a lot of the same makeup, skincare, and fragrances as the typical stand alone stores, they also carry some products that cannot be found in a traditional Sephora store. Currently there are almost 400 Sephora locations in various JCPenney stores across the country. Now just because these locations aren’t a stand alone Sephora, that doesn’t mean that you’re going to miss out on the Sephora experience. What happens is basically an entire (smaller) Sephora location is literally built within JCPenney. You’ll feel as if you’ve walked into a Sephora location…. while still remaining inside JCPenney. It’s a win win for both corporations and goes along with JCPenney’s “shop within a shop” concept that they have been rolling out in various locations across the country.

Hello new Coach store… and others.

We visited the new Coach store this weekend and were fairly impressed. It follows their typical store prototype design that was introduced a few years back and is covered in in tons of cremes, whites, and blacks. The inside is laden with purses and accessories galore, the world’s softest carpet (at least we think) and even a men’s line! We’ve included some photos of the new store below just incase you were dying of anticipation.

We also uploaded pictures of the new Motherhood Maternity store, the new Spencer’s, and the official box out for Express. It looks as if the mall may in fact be taking over a portion of the restrooms on that end of the mall for new Express store. The mall site plan shows a portion of the available space left over from the former Walgreen’s store on the interior of the mall as now being subdivided, while it also shows a portion of the former restrooms also remaining. Makes us wonder if they are going to move the mall restrooms to the JCPenney side of the mall or if a new tenant may be on it’s way in. Only time will tell…. Oh, and construction documents.

The Coach has officially arrived.


It’s here! Today is the day! Those coveted leather goods are now only a short drive away as Duluth’s official Coach store opened this morning at 10am in the Miller Hill Mall. The retailer first reported back in February that they would be opening their first Northern Minnesota location come summer of 2013. They began construction on their store in the former Motherhood Maternity space back in April and after a little more than two months of construction they are ready to open their doors!

Now if you are wondering how they are opening before Express is opening their new Duluth location… well… there sometimes are issues with construction. Express was suppose to open their location in the former space of Abercrombie and Fitch last month, but due to construction issues the date has been pushed back to the second week of July (tentatively). As always we’ll keep you updated with the latest news.

We’ll be going on a scouting of the new Coach store come this weekend. Check back next week for pictures of the new store!

Until then, have a great weekend everyone!

JCP completes home furnishing area remodel

Boy, oh boy, have times gotten busy lately! And wow do we feel like we have neglected the blog! Sorry for that!

We’ve been so busy that we forgot to post the pictures from our most recent visit to JCPenney back in May for the completion of the home furnishings department. We saw the DNT post about JCPenney and it caused us to kick ourselves for forgetting to upload these pictures.

How did it turn out? Absolutely amazing. It is way above what we expected. In fact, it truly feels as if you are in a completely different place than a JCPenney. It’s so great that we feel that words cannot describe it and therefore have chosen to include a picture gallery for your viewing pleasure.