If you live in the Treasure Valley, you’ve probably been involved in a conversation centered on when stores like Trader Joes, Nordstrom or Ulta are finally going to open up shop in our fine state. Throw in In & Out Burger and the discussion can turn downright heated, and trust me, I’ve been there, done that.
A recent IBR poll question asked what retailers or restaurants residents would like to see move into the Idaho market. Of the 300 people who voted, 42 percent of votes went to Trader Joes, 15 percent for Whole Foods, 12 percent for Nordstrom and 12 percent for In & Out Burger. Some folks also want to see IKEA open up locally, with 18 percent voter support.
While I don’t proclaim to have any new tidbits of information on any of the mentioned retailers (I personally would be content with In & Out, Ulta, Trader Joes and Crate & Barrel) rumors are swirling about J.Crew opening soon at Boise Towne Square, possibly in the former Disney Store location. The upscale clothing retailer, which started out as a catalog company in 1983, has hundreds of stores across the country, yet not one in Idaho.
Trouble is, General Growth Properties, which manages leasing and mall operations at Boise Towne Square is staying mum on the issue.
Rebekah Hope, common area coordinator at the mall, said, “At this time, we don’t have anything we can confirm or deny.”
A media rep in J.Crew’s New York office also wouldn’t comment on my query (though she was very nice).
To get some perspective about how and why some stores do business in Idaho, and others don’t, I spoke with David Wali, retail and investment specialist at Colliers International in Boise. He said he’s constantly asked about why companies, like Nordstrom, aren’t moving into prime retail spaces, like the empty Macy’s in downtown Boise.
He said it’s more complicated than simply moving into open space. Companies conduct their own research and study the demographics and population centers in each city before deciding where to open their doors. They also weigh other data, facts and figures that help round out their decision.
“Just because a company isn’t located here now doesn’t mean it won’t be in the future,” Wali said. “Even as much as some people rally for a certain store to open in Boise, the decision is based on multiple factors.”
While I totally get that companies must complete their due diligence before considering a possible move to Idaho, I just wish that my favorite … hint hint … Crate & Barrel, would really give our town a second (or third) look.