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Rochester Retail Update

December 29th, 2014

Happy Holidays! In this month of consumerism I thought I’d bring you a small update on some exciting retail changes coming soon or already open in the city of Rochester. [PHOTO: Steve Vogt]
By Steve Vogt

Happy Holidays! In this month of consumerism I thought I’d bring you a small update on some exciting retail changes coming soon or already open in the city of Rochester…

The caliber of Rochester's retail stores haven’t reached that of many cities across America. But hopes are high that the influx of new rooftops and retail in the city will create a cascading effect seen in much larger cities. [PHOTO: John Fraissinet, Flickr]
I don’t know about you, but I love to spend my money on quality goods. I find that I don’t shop in Rochester or its suburbs much because the caliber of Rochester’s retail stores haven’t reached that of many cities across America. But hopes are high that the influx of new rooftops and retail in the city will create a cascading effect seen in much larger cities. If Providence, Rhode Island can house their most upscale mall external link downtown, Rochester, New York, a city very similar to Providence in demographics, can someday accomplish some level of retail. I don’t know the true reason for our dearth of high end and quality retail, but I can take some guesses.

One of the more exciting openings recently is that of Benrus in the Culver Road Armory. Benrus will open in Charleston, SC, Washington, DC, Newport, RI, and Rochester, NY. [PHOTO: Steve Vogt]
Anyway, one of the more exciting openings is that of Benrus external link in the Culver Road Armory. With an early 2015 opening they are currently hiring for retail positions.

Benrus, an almost 100 year old company, was recently purchased by the former CEO of Alex and Ani external link, another Culver Road Armory tenant. Alex and Ani external link is one of retailing’s hottest brands external link of 2014. That store opened in Rochester in 2012. Now Benrus will help to add to the lifestyle development that the armory external linkis becoming. With only four stores opening nationwide, Rochester’s Culver Road Armory will serve as one of the launch markets. This is truly a feat and says something grand about the national belief of retailing in our market.

Benrus was originally formed to produce watches, but the new CEO is morphing it into a military inspired clothing and accessories line for men and women. [PHOTO: Steve Vogt]
Benrus will open in Charleston, SC, Washington, DC, Newport, RI, and Rochester, NY. The company was originally formed to produce watches, but the new CEO is morphing it into a military inspired clothing and accessories line for men and women. The store will be urban feeling, and the product will be of higher quality, but at a more affordable price than that of something you would find at Bloomingdales or Saks Fifth Avenue. From a trip to the Alex and Ani website, I assume Benrus will be a similar approach and moderate price point as Alex and Ani is.

Hopes are high that the interior matches this rendering. [IMAGE: Hanlon Architects]
Hopes are high that the interior matches this rendering.

City retail excitement really lit up earlier in 2014 when Arhaus moved from Victor’s Eastview Mall to the Culver Road Armory. [PHOTO: Steve Vogt]
City retail excitement really lit up earlier in 2014 when Arhaus external linkmoved from Victor’s Eastview Mall to the Culver Road Armory.

2014 also saw Brighton’s Fleet Feet move to the Culver Road Armory. [PHOTO: Steve Vogt]
2014 also saw Brighton’s Fleet Feet external link move to the Culver Road Armory.

Finally, another move to note, the high end home store Ambiance has moved from Pittsford to 860 University Ave in the city. Ambiance Home and Gift specializes in transitional & French country design. [PHOTO: Steve Vogt]
Finally, another move to note, the high end home store Ambiance external linkhas moved from Pittsford to 860 University Avenue external link in the city. Ambiance Home and Gift specializes in transitional & French country design. They carry furniture, accessories, custom window treatments, and gifts.

From this short list you can see that national chains as well as locally owned retail are truly believing that Rochester is on the rise. With all of the residential projects changing the face of the city of Rochester it is only a matter of time until retail of larger magnitude is announced.

I hope in the near future to announce some of the large retail names signing leases at some of the more prominent projects already underway downtown. I’ve spoken to my real estate development friends and they aren’t quite ready for me announce anything here. I just have to be patient.

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This entry was posted on Monday, December 29th, 2014 at 12:09 am and is filed under Rochester Destinations, Rochester Gifts, Rochester News, Urban Development. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

3 Responses to “Rochester Retail Update”

  1. John says:

    I’m generally not a fan of franchises or chains, but as was pointed out here or somewhere else, due to the large amount of cash needed(for franchises) and/or the amount of research and planning (for chains) this is a solid vote for city retail. The more that come the better, now lets see if we can get them inside the inner loop.

  2. Jason Haremza says:

    If Rochester was as corrupt as Providence under Mayor Cianci, maybe we too could have an upscale downtown mall.

  3. Erica says:

    I moved downtown a few years ago and watched what little retail there was just dry up. Perhaps its a natural part of the urban restoration process but its frustratingly painful to witness. I am pretty charged about Hart’s but they are so expensive that I can only novelty shop there once in a while. Also, the new shipping container architecture being built here that, hopefully, will become a part of the downtown area. They live in St. Paul Quarter and are really committed to the downtown and doing very cool projects like micro-bistros and what-not. I digress. Unfortunately, I’m afraid that the Armory, while an amazing project, relies on people with way deeper pockets than the downtown, or even Brighton, demographic


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