The New Mix at Maple Village
A glossier look and higher prices
by Sally Mitani
From the July, 2017 issue
Maple Village continues to morph from local and regional businesses to something more like Arborland West, with an expanding array of nationally recognized big-box stores behind looming spick-and-span facades. Most recently added to the mix are Carter's/OshKosh, Five Below, and Sierra Trading Post.
Carter's/OshKosh, selling cute and rugged children's clothing, occupies more or less the same spot as Value World, where those same clothes often turned up used. Five Below next door is a dollar store on steroids, replacing Dollar Tree. The price limit is a fiver, and the inventory is heavy on the ornamental and the fanciful: scented candles, water speakers ("built-in water fountain and light show"), some rather flimsy-looking but colorful hammocks (for ages fourteen and up, but you probably don't want to put granny in one). Not everything's a bargain: Clif bars go for $1.99, about twice what they cost at Trader Joe's and Target.
Sierra Trading Post is both a venerable name and a new concept. Only about a dozen brick-and-mortar Sierras exist at the moment, but owner TJX (which owns Maple Village neighbor HomeGoods and TJ Maxx in Westgate) seems intent on rolling them out across the mall sphere. It looks a bit like a cross between an Eddie Bauer and an REI, but, while the prices are good, they lack the thrill of those insane deals that pop up all the time on your browser once Sierra gets hold of your email address: Keen sandals for only $9! (size five and eleven only); Neon Buddha jacket $5! (in a color no live human could ever wear, but still ...).
Both Arborland and Maple Village are owned by Brixmor Property Group, and its leasing department works closely with TJX and other large discount retailers. Last August, the Wall Street Journal ran an upbeat article about "How TJX's Success Continues to Defy Traditional Brick-and-Mortar Retail ..." Customers who were shunning traditional malls were flocking to these discount outlets that offer the same
stuff at much lower prices by snapping up remainders and discontinued lines. Oops, said the Wall Street Journal in May: If Macy's and other suppliers go under, TJX loses its supply chain, which was starting to happen as TJX failed to fulfill its rosy 2017 projections. That headline read, "TJX Is Dinged by Department Store Crash."
Carter's/OshKosh, 343 N. Maple Rd. (Maple Village), 769-1280. Mon.-Sat. 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Sun. 11 a.m.-6 p.m. carters.com
Five Below, 345 N. Maple Rd. (Maple Village), 222-0024. Mon.-Sat. 9 a.m.-9 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. fivebelow.com
Sierra Trading Post, 215 N. Maple Rd. (Maple Village), 222-5010. Mon.-Sat. 9 a.m.-9 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.-7 p.m. sierratradingpost.com
[Originally published in July, 2017.]
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