Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Nordstrom debuts temporary downtown store for CIAA tournament

Ashley M. London
Charlotte Business Journal

Nordstrom is opening a store in uptown Charlotte, N.C. -- at least for a couple of days next week, while the CIAA basketball tournament is in town.

In an unprecedented move for the Seattle-based department store chain, Nordstrom will temporarily turn a ballroom at the Hilton Charlotte Center City into a boutique.

"I came up with the idea for Nordstrom Boutique, and corporate ran with it," says Hade Robinson Jr., a wardrobe consultant at Nordstrom's SouthPark store. "We have never done anything like this as a company."

Robinson's idea is to give shoppers a taste of the personal services and selections the high-end retailer is known for and hopefully entice them to travel six miles to the mall for more.

"This will be a full-fledged store open to the public," he says. "We'll have everything from day to evening wear, business attire, cosmetics and more."

Special lighting, dressing rooms and displays will be assembled uptown by a team of Nordstrom employees who are flying in from all over the country for the two-day event. The boutique will be open from 7 to 10 p.m. Wednesday, and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday. Alterations will be available on site for shoppers who purchase clothing and need a quick fit.

"We felt like this event was such a big thing for Charlotte, and since there are no major retailers uptown we thought we should take the lead," Robinson says.

CIAA officials estimate more than 110,000 fans will attend the tournament, being held at the uptown arena.

"It's the first time Nordstrom in its 100-year history has ever done something for an athletic conference," Robinson says.

For more information on the boutique, call Robinson at (704) 442-6000, ext. 1840.

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