Dollar Store Seeks to Rub Elbows on Rodeo Drive
If your Rodeo Drive shopping stops include Versace, Armani, Chanel and Tiffany & Co., perhaps you'd be interested in a store where you could drop a real bundle, of $1 bills that is.
The 99 Cents Only Stores chain announced that it's searching for a retail space on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, Calif., one of the toniest shopping strips in the world.
"We think our store will do well. Our highest amounts of sales are happening in our branch on Wilshire Boulevard. We know for a fact a lot of customers there are coming from Beverly Hills. This store will be here to stay. The major reason for its success will be the challenging economy which came as the final impetus to open the store," Eric Schiffer, The 99 Cents Only Store CEO, told ABC News.
The 99 Cents Only Store is confident that opening on Rodeo Drive be a winning move. "We've had many success stories that are similar to this scenario. After we opened our store in West Hollywood on West Lincoln Boulevard, a Whole Foods came right next to us. As soon as it did, our business went up dramatically," he said.
"Oh my God! How will it work in the middle of all the fancy-shmantsy?" Beverly Hills resident since 1977 Ann Garry told ABC News when she heard the news.
"If there's a 99 Cent Only Store on Rodeo Drive, I will definitely shop there. I wouldn't dream of shopping on Rodeo Drive. Instead of just looking at the windows I can now shop there," said Garry.
Mikael Choukroun, manager of 208 Rodeo restaurant located on the Rodeo Drive, he is concerned about the street losing its high-class identity.
"Hearing news of The 99 Cents Store opening is very disappointing. I worked for 20 years at Les Champs Elysees [in Paris] and I have seen what such stores have done to it. After McDonalds and similar places opened many of the high-end brands left Les Champs Elysees and it's now full of cheap stores. I can see this happening to Rodeo Drive if they start opening such stores," said Choukroun.
Making ends meet as far as rent will be a challenging task, said Schiffer. "We're hoping to find a landlord who will understand that with opening such a store we will increase traffic on Rodeo Drive, which has been slow due to the bad economy," said Schiffer.
"By putting our news release out on Tuesday we hope to attract the interest of landlords and perhaps cut the middle-man process, and by that, cut some extra costs," he said.
The store hopes to appeal to locals and to tourists. "Shops on Rodeo make most of their sales from tourists. When tourists get their basic needs from our store, as opposed to paying a lot more for the same items at their hotels, they will have saved enough to shop on Rodeo," said Schiffer.
The 99 Cent Stores operates 303 outlets in California, Texas, Arizona, and Nevada. "We were the first store to sell in 99 cent or a buck items. We are an LA iconic business. We started in LA 30 years ago and grew to 300 stores and we want it to be the home of our flagship store… the city where we started. Also, what's wrong with having an exception, and we would be that exception," said Schiffer.