It's been a slow summer for many retailers, exaggerated by the declining economy that has left some people spending their discretionary income to fill their gas tanks instead of their closets or cuisine cravings.
But the opening of "The Dark Knight" might prove a bright light for shops in centers with a movie theater.
That includes Tempe Marketplace, near the intersection of loops 101 and 202, where some stores, coffee shops and eateries are beefing up staff for the weekend, extending hours or even handing out coupons. They are hoping to snag some business from the hordes of moviegoers expected to show up through Sunday, according to a spokeswoman for shopping center owner Vestar.
A couple of downtown Scottsdale eateries are getting new names and images.
The former Café Blue, 4175 N. Goldwater Blvd., is scheduled to reopen in September as Bacon.
The new concept is gearing up to serve "upscale comfort food" for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
The former Union Bar & Grill also is undergoing a major makeover. Partners Terry Ellisor and chef Matt Carter of Zinc Bistro at Kierland Commons and Brian Raab of Merc Bar in Phoenix plan to gut the half-century old building at 3815 N. Brown Ave. and redesign it as The Mission.
A massive patio and courtyard lit by gas lamps, a 20-seat communal table, palm wood floors, a marble bar, faux "rainwater" walls, ornate chandeliers and a wall of real salt blocks are in the plans.
The Mission is expected to open in October.
The long awaited PUMA shop at Scottsdale Fashion Square opened Friday.
The store features PUMA's new global design concept inspired by a ship container where all fixture elements are suspended from the ceiling or laid upon the floor. That lends itself to redesigning the shop continuously to keep it fresh and exciting, said spokesman Leland Tumeinski.
PUMA sells sport-lifestyle clothing, shoes and accessories including sunglasses, hats, bags and watches. While local shoppers have been able to purchase PUMA brand products at other stores, the new store is the Valley's first exposure to the full line, Tumeinski said.
Tracy Penwell, who runs the Rima Fine Art Gallery at 7077 E. Main St. in Scottsdale, recently created her own line of handbags dubbed "Dressed Up Cat Fashion Re-fashioned." And she won national notice.
Penwell's handbag "Summertime," featuring recycled wrist watches on a white leather and straw clutch, was a finalist for "Best Green Handbag" in this year's Independent Handbag Designer Awards.
Dressed Up Cat handbags are available at Rima Fine Art or on the Web at www.dressedupcat.com.