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I followed up with Sun Diego owner Dave Nash to find out more about Sun Diego’s new Fashion Valley store, including how he is feeling about the economy, and why the store moved to new location at the shopping center.
“Yes. Do we feel like it’s smooth sailing ahead? We’ll probably never have that feeling again. It doesn’t mean I’m being a pessimist. It does mean that if I learned one lesson during the recession it’s to never feel 100% comfortable again - especially now when there are still strong possibilities of major developments that can affect the economy.
“My feelings on business this year are pretty positive but it still depends so much on the weather and of course we still need to be a little concerned about hyper inflation (although, I really find it hard to believe that the government would let this happen).”
“The short story is we’ve learned how to be profitable with a lot less and are lucky enough to have great vendor relationships. They have shown tremendous support during incredibly trying times and our goal is to come out of all of this with the opportunity for not only us to be stronger than we’ve ever been, but also wanting the same for all of our vendors.
“Fashion Valley has been in a transition phase since about 2007. They are in the process of remerchandising the center and wanting to expand their luxury business - Louis Vuitton, Tiffany’s, Coach, etc. We have been in our current location in Fashion Valley since 1981 and the only other store in the shopping center that’s been there longer is JC Penney.
But, we knew they wouldn’t renew our lease in that location and the best-case scenario was that we were going to have to move since our lease was up in 2011. This has always been our flagship store, the original store, and the center is very important to us and to our heritage. We certainly didn’t want to just walk away from the center.
“We knew we had to go for the gusto and that we’d have to make a great presentation to the center in order to get the best location possible. We teamed up with Rob Ripley and Bryce over at DisplayIt to come up with a conceptual store that would not only sell ourselves to the shopping center but would make a presentation that would differentiate ourselves and that all of our vendors could be proud of.
“The center ended up giving us the best location we could ask for under the circumstances, albeit a little smaller than we wanted. Then we needed to find a way to make it happen. All I can say is we were able to pull every bunny out of the hat to make it happen.
“I certainly hope that everybody who was able to participate in whichever way they could, will be not only happy; but, very happy at the end of the day.
“We take great pride in the way we represent the product our industry has to offer, as it is special and it should be treated as such. There are an awful lot of retailers that feel the same way but unfortunately some that do not.”