As the holiday season approaches, Triangle malls are shaking up their offerings with pop-up shops and entertainment options.
New pop-up stores at Crabtree Valley Mall include American Girl, Lyla Jones Bake Shop, Do’licious, and Sweet Tea and Cornbread, said marketing director Brian Asbill. Alex and Ani jewelry also recently opened on the upper level near Center Court as a permanent store.
Do’licious is a food kiosk where owner Samantha Schpero sells edible chocolate chip cookie dough. Schpero, a New Jersey native who has lived in Raleigh for the past four years, said the dough is perfectly safe to eat. She doesn’t use eggs in the batter and the flour is heat treated to kill anything bad. Schpero said the cart would be at Crabtree through the holidays, and she has hopes of opening a more traditional store in the near future.
This is the second time American Girl – which sells 18-inch dolls that can be custom-designed – has operated a pop-up location at Crabtree. Located in the lower level next to Sears, the store opened in July and will remain until the end of January 2018.
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“American Girl was very popular the last time it was here, and when it left, we constantly had folks asking if it would come back,” Asbill said.
Sweet Tea and Cornbread offers products made in North Carolina such as cookies, jams, cheese straws and nuts, and is open now through Dec. 31 on the upper level in the wing by Belk. Asbill said that last year during the holidays, customers frequently visited the mall’s customer service desk to inquire about a store selling North Carolina products.
Crabtree is also bringing back its Music in the Valley series, which it last featured in 2014. The concert series will take place on the mall’s outdoor patios on its upper level across from Brio Tuscan Grille and Fleming’s Steakhouse. It started Sept. 13 and will run for five weeks on Wednesdays, with nearby restaurants offering happy hour food and drink specials.
The mall will host Pulse FM’s Back to School Bash concert Sept. 30 featuring pop artist Jonas Blue and rapper Jake Miller. Previous iterations of the concert have starred artists on the brink of success like pop singers Meghan Trainor and Daya, Asbill said.
“They have a good track record of bringing in some really good up-and-coming artists,” he said. “The concert attracts a lot more of the teenager, young adult crowd.”
Changes at Northgate
Northgate Mall in Durham has a prospective tenant for the space formerly occupied by Macy’s, said Melodie Griffin-Pugh, director of marketing. The department store’s closing this spring was part of a larger shuttering of 68 Macy’s stores, as the chain tried to streamline costs because of falling sales. Griffin-Pugh declined to say which retailer would move into the space, saying an announcement would be made before the end of the year.
The gym center Planet Fitness is now open at Northgate and will host a grand opening event Sept. 31, she said. The mall also recently relocated Gurley’s, a retailer for medical supplies and equipment, to a smaller location and opened the consignment store KidStock. Kickback Jack’s Sports Bar will replace the steak chain Tripps in December.
“We’re in the middle of re-purposing and doing some things differently as most malls across the country are,” Griffin-Pugh said.
She said that like other malls, Northgate has suffered from more consumers buying goods online instead of visiting brick-and-mortar stores. Many people visit malls for products they have already researched online, instead of browsing.
“The shopping experience isn’t as long as it used to be,” she said. “People come in for specific items.”
The scene at Southpoint
At the Streets of Southpoint, an Amazon kiosk recently opened on the first level near Sears. The pop-up sells the Echo, Fire TV, Fire tablets and Kindles and accessories. Customers can also test the products out. The mall also unveiled a new Starbucks on the lower level near the main entryway and a freshly-renovated L’Occitane store near Nordstrom. L’Occitane sells cosmetics and bath and body products. Other new stores include another beauty products store Lionesse, clothing retailer Moon Street USA (formerly known as Carolina Moon), an eatery called Pretzel Twister and a shoppers’ massage location. 140 Salon and Blow Dry Bar is expected to open soon.
New at North Hills
North Hills Mall in Raleigh has launched several new stores and restaurants in the past few months, including the Lebanese-American chain Aladdin’s Eatery and women’s retailers Lilly Pulitzer and StyleFinder boutique, said marketing manager Hannah Gordon. Late 2017 or early 2018 openings will include indoor cycling studio CycleBar, Midtown Yoga studio, Happy + Hale eatery, the locally owned barber shop Arrow Haircuts, Vietnamese restaurant CO, apparel outlet Southern Tide and Kilwins ice cream shop.
It also plans to open an Orangetheory Fitness studio this fall in the Park District on the ground level of the new Park Central Apartments. The studio features a group training workout with intervals of cardiovascular and strength training. This will be its third location in Raleigh.
Gordon said the mall is also planning to open pop-up stores in November and December for the holiday season but wasn’t ready to name them yet. The pop-up Oak City Coffee Roasters recently closed.
In addition, the mall’s Friday Night Tribute Series in Midtown Park will continue through Oct. 13. There will also be a holiday “Sip & Shop,” in which customers can receive free coffee and hot cider, along with a tree lighting ceremony on Nov. 18.