polo pajama pants Borsheims to open second location at Nebraska Crossing Outlets
Although a topic of discussion for nearly two years, the decision to open a store at Nebraska Crossing was made less than a month ago and required Warren Buffett’s approval, said Susan Jacques, Borsheims’ president and chief executive.
“Are we jumping in late? Yes, we are. But we’ll be there at the ribbon cutting on opening day,” Jacques said.
The outlet concept expands Borsheims’ customer base by offering more merchandise targeting younger, value conscious shoppers and puts it in the company of other upscale retailers with outlet stores.
The Boutique is a new concept for Borsheims, Jacques said, but value is not. She said the main store has always worked to attract value conscious shoppers, especially since the recession, offering the “Borsheims Price” discount from the listed prices.
“It’s not a huge stretch for us,” she said.
“With a projected three to four million annual visitors, introducing a Borsheims outlet location at Nebraska Crossing gives us the ability to reach a larger number of customers and prospective customers,” Jacques said. “The size and scale of this development, combined with the other luxury retailers, made this a perfect fit for us.”
Nebraska Crossing developer Rod Yates of OTB Destination said he’s thrilled by the addition of Borsheims to the mall’s lineup.
“I’m just over the moon about it,” he said.
Yates, who repositioned the Legends Outlets in Kansas City, Kan., transforming it into an upscale outlet center, said he approached Borsheims about creating an outlet store more than two years ago.
“When I started working on the merchandising strategy for the outlets at Nebraska Crossing . one of the first aspirational brands we targeted was Borsheims,” he said. Highways 6 and 31. It is scheduled to open Nov. 15 with 65 brands, many of them new to the Nebraska market, Yates has said. It is replacing a 20 year old outlet mall.
Jacques praised Yates and Frank Krejci of Omaha’s Century Development, the mall’s majority owner, for “doing an incredible job in taking down the old and putting up the new. It’s an exciting opportunity for Nebraska.”
The look and feel of the Borsheims outlet, including its signature silver and burgundy gift wrapping, will mirror the retailer’s 11 times larger flagship store, located on Regency Parkway. “We want the experience to be a very similar experience as our main store,” Jacques said.
There may be some crossover in the stores’ merchandise offerings, but the boutique will primarily carry its own unique collections, including diamond jewelry, gold jewelry and pearls with a small selection of watches and gift items, Jacques said.
Borsheims keeps a “very low operations to expense ratio” and, despite opportunities, it never made sense to open additional stores, Jacques said.
This time, however, the numbers worked. “They made a very attractive offer to get us there,” she said, referring to Yates and Krejci.
So far, four eateries and nearly 50 retailers have announced their intention to open factory or outlet stores at the reconfigured mall, which will feature 1 gigabit Internet service provided by CenturyLink and a sophisticated software platform that will connect retailers to customers.
Borsheims Boutique will join Helzberg Diamonds, also owned by Berkshire Hathaway, Kay Jewelers and Swarovski Crystals at the outlet mall. Jacques said the mix will give shoppers a range of choices.
Concern that opening an outlet store might affect Borsheims’ image was a consideration, said Jacques, but other upscale brands such as Polo and Swarovski have successfully created outlet stores without tarnishing their reputations.
Borsheims’ foray into the outlet market is typical of many national jewelry retailers, said industry analyst Caitlin Newsom of IBISWorld Inc. in Santa Monica, Calif.
In recent years, major jewelry retailers seeking to expand their appeal have established outlet and mall stores, many targeting the young, fashion conscious customer, Newsom said.
The merchandise mix at an outlet store is very different from the mix at full price stores, Newsom said.
While an outlet store might carry semi precious stones, charm bracelets and other fashion jewelry, the full price stores typically focus on diamonds, high end jewelry and the expertise of their in house gem specialists, a strategy that allows both divisions to flourish without cannibalizing sales from one another.
With the decision to open a Borsheims Boutique, the next step is a “long checklist” that includes ordering and installing custom cases and vaults for the store’s mid November debut, she said.
Although a manager for the Nebraska Crossing outlet store has not been named, a specific team, including buyers, is focusing on the outlet store, Jacques said.
As for “Mr. Buffett,” she said, “he’s very excited about the opportunity.”
The Omaha World Herald Co. is owned by Berkshire Hathaway Inc.
Borsheims’ history dates to Omaha’s early days of retailing, when Louis Borsheim opened a store in 1870 and, for a time, also operated a store in Council Bluffs that specialized in watches designed to help Union Pacific conductors keep “railroad time.”
Louis Friedman purchased the store in 1948 and sold it to his son, Isadore “Ike” Friedman, in 1973. Louis Friedman also co founded the Nebraska Furniture Mart with his sister in law, Rose Blumkin, selling his interest to the Blumkin family in 1947.