Tommy Bahama plans E.V. first - East Valley Tribune: Business

Tommy Bahama plans E.V. first

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Posted: Thursday, September 18, 2003 6:51 am | Updated: 1:40 pm, Thu Oct 6, 2011.

Kierland Commons, the successful upscale shopping center on the Phoenix and north Scottsdale border, has scored another big first.

Popular island-inspired retailer Tommy Bahama plans to build its first Arizona fullservice bar and restaurant in a two-story, tropical-themed retail compound at the west end of Kierland’s Main Street.

The company also plans to open its inaugural home furnishings store there, displaying everything from licensed furniture to bedding, lamps, rugs, linens and decorative items such as candles, collectibles and one-of-a-kind finds, said George Santacroce, Tommy Bahama’s president of retail.

And the courtyard of the themed complex is reserved for the first Tommy Bahama casual outdoor eatery, serving up drinks, desserts, appetizers and light lunches, he said.

The Kierland clothing store, one of two in Arizona (the first is in Biltmore Fashion Park), will move into the compound when construction is completed. Santacroce said the target opening date is Nov. 24.

Tommy Bahama’s Tropical Cafe — the main restaurant and bar — is pegged to resemble an island getaway, Santacroce said. The Kierland decor is more upscale than the company’s six other eateries, which serve island favorites in such locations as Naples, Fla., Newport Beach, Calif., and Wailea, Maui, Hawaii.

"From a design standpoint the early ones had an island bungalow feeling. This is more like an island plantation. Tommy has gotten a little older, a little richer, a little more refined in taste," Santacroce said, referring to the fictitious company namesake. "But we never take ourselves too seriously. We want to create an environment where nobody feels pressured, where people just come to have a good time."

The main restaurant, on the second floor of the compound, will offer Tommy Bahama specialities such as Jerk chicken, coconut shrimp and piña colada cake. Nightly musical entertainment also is planned, Santacroce said.

On the first floor, the men’s and women’s clothing emporiums and the home furnishings store will be separated by the courtyard cafe. Santacroce said it will be designed so people can come in to have a drink, browse and buy.

The first Tommy Bahama home furnishings store will give the company more room to display the kind of items it has traditionally tucked around its clothing stores, he said. The store will sell its accessories, decor and linens directly, and partner with a company licensed to offer Tommy Bahama-branded furniture, such as Kierland neighbor Robb & Stucky, to handle the furniture sales, Santacroce said.

He picked Kierland for Tommy Bahama’s seventh retail-restaurant compound because the local clothing store was doing so well, he said.

"It’s one of our most successful stores," Santacroce said. "We found the guest in that market and the guest that comes to north Scottsdale resorts has always gravitated to Tommy Bahama. We’ve watched Kierland Commons evolve, and it was a natural fit."

The Tommy Bahama compound reinforces Kierland’s reputation as a unusual shopping and dining destination, said Buzz Gosnell, vice president of Woodbine Southwest, Kierland’s owner-developer.

"It will be only one, so it offers one more reason to come here," Gosnell said. "It will definitely add some excitement and traffic. It will anchor that end of Main Street and be a draw from the (Westin Kierland)."

A couple of smaller spots are still left to fill in the Tommy Bahama complex. Kierland has pending deals for a hair salon and an art gallery. And Kierland already has three tenants ready to move into the old Tommy Bahama clothing store when it relocates to the compound, Gosnell said.

The Tommy Bahama compound will finish up the western wing of the openair shopping center. That leaves one more Kierland Commons clump of stores still to build — on the north side of the fountain, where the multilevel garage is currently located. That is pegged to include 32,000 square feet of retail — to add to the existing 300,000 — with residential units above the shops. Gosnell said Kierland already has deals and a waiting list for most of those spots.

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