The media blitz leading up to the Oct. 2 opening of Nordstrom at Ridgedale Center kicked off today with a press lunch at Borough to share key details of the new store. A lot has changed about design strategy, and the way we shop since the Mall of America store opened in 1992. Here are the highlights:
Smaller than MOA, but more efficient. At 140,000 square feet, the two-level Ridgedale store will be smaller than Nordstrom Mall of America, but with a completely updated design. “Back in 1992 (when MOA opened), we built stores with more backroom space,” says Nordstrom spokesman John Bailey. “Now, we can move merchandise in and out much more quickly, so more square footage is devoted to the selling floor.”
Modern design. Rather than tiled walkways between carpeted departments, this store will feature a single floor surface, which offers more flexibility to expand and move merchandise. The fluid design—which includes ceiling fixtures that can be moved along with merchandise—is also intended to remove barriers between departments. “Customers are more likely to try a new area,” Bailey says. The store will feature many more windows than department stores of the past, to bring natural light and give the outside world a glimpse inside.
New beauty concept. Ridgedale will be one of Nordstrom's first stores to feature an entirely redesigned beauty department—the goal being to remove barriers to product so customers can grab and go, or touch and play. A “trending now” section will spotlight new arrivals and hot products. “Mini must haves” will offer small versions of essential products. The “play bar” is the place for customers to experiment. A beauty concierge will be available for those who want extra help or guidance when shopping between brands.
New restaurant. The Ridgedale store will feature one of Nordstrom’s newest restaurant concepts: Ruscello, a full-service restaurant featuring Mediterranean and Italian-inspired cuisine—brick oven pizzas, salads, sandwiches, house-made desserts and a children’s menu, along with a full bar featuring locally inspired handcrafted cocktails. (For quick bites and drinks to go, the store will also have an Ebar, like at MOA).
Play area. No more begging for a balloon in the shoe area. This children’s department will feature a playhouse, plus movies and other activities to keep kids occupied while parents shop.
High-tech conveniences. Sales associates throughout the store will be armed with mobile devices, making it possible to check out or place an order wherever you are. Nordstrom Ridgedale will offer curbside pick up for customers who place an order online and want to grab it right away. Curbside is a new service Nordstrom is in the early stages of implementing in a few markets, Bailey says.
Opening gala. The first chance for the public to see the new store will be Sept. 30 when Nordstrom hosts an opening gala to benefit Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota and PACER Center. Gala attendees will be treated to live entertainment, fashion presentations, and an opportunity to pre-shop the store. Tickets are $100 and will be available for purchase beginning June 15 by calling 612-813-7576. All proceeds from ticket sales will go to the organizations.
Opening day. The store opens at 10 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 2. Customers can get in early by attending a pre-opening Beauty Bash that will begin at 8 a.m.
More details to come. What we don’t know yet is which lines the Ridgedale store will feature. Nordstrom buyers are in the process of making those decisions while considering the demographics of Ridgedale versus Mall of America. Nordstrom has the benefit of knowing where its MOA shoppers come from geographically and their buying preferences. Another factor is some brands prefer to be in only one store per market, Bailey says, so it is quite likely the two stores will not be exactly the same.