Shoppers found a more upscale Kohl’s department store than they may have been accustomed to when they arrived at the department store’s grand opening at U.S. 60 and Signal Butte Road in Mesa in October.
The store at 1632 S. Signal Butte Road is part of an image makeover of the corporation’s discount stores nationwide. Most of the changes the company has rolled out were to improve its stores’ ambiance.
“It’s a little different than what customers are used to,” said Guy Collins, the district manager for Arizona. “(It’s) just to enhance the shopping experience.”
Among the changes are sleeker fixtures with darker woods and chrome, fewer stacks of merchandise to give the stores a cleaner look, bigger and brighter graphics and signage, fitting rooms with lounges and hardwood floors, and higher ceilings on the sales floors, and better sound systems.
Other changes include upgrades to the chain’s point of service technology such as touch screen cash registers and wider isles.
Collins said the company is rolling out about 40 stores nationwide that feature the more upscale look. He said the upgrades are in line with other companies that are classing up their image. One notable example is a new effort by the McDonald’s Corp. to make its restaurants seem more “posh.”
“It’s in that vein,” Collins said. “(It) integrates comfort and convenience ... for today’s shopping experience.”
The Kohl’s, which is surrounded by ongoing construction work, is one of the few stores open at the new power center that is being developed by Diversified Partners. The developer expects Wal Mart to open at the end of January 2006. A Bed Bath & Beyond, Ross clothing store, Babies R’ Us and several other retailers are due to open in mid-November.
Collins said the ongoing construction work hasn’t hurt his business, and may actually have improved it since Kohl’s won’t have to compete with many surrounding businesses.
Apache Junction resident Julie Sichterman, who uses a walker, said she was impressed by the retailer’s new look.
“This is very well laid out,” she said. “It seems bigger ... especially when you’re in a walker.”
George Heinrich, an Apache Junction resident who was waiting outside while his wife shopped, bemoaned the lack of chairs or benches in the store, however.
“My feet are bad,” he said. “You don’t have a place for guys to sit down.”