Wednesday’s edition of The Los Angeles Times covered this weekend’s upcoming grand opening of the third American Girl Place store in the country, which will be at The Grove, taking the spot that was vacated by FAQ Schwartz.
Apparently it’s going to exacerbate the ever-increasing problem of street traffic around the mid-Wilshire and Fairfax areas:
For developer Caruso [Affiliated], enticing American Girl Place to fill the spot vacated by FAO Schwarz, a ritzy toy merchant whose parent company filed for bankruptcy protection, was a coup. American Girl has just two other locations: on Chicago’s Michigan Avenue and New York’s 5th Avenue. Each of those stores draws about 1 million visitors a year, and American Girl anticipates similar numbers for the Los Angeles store, said Wade Opland, the company’s vice president of retail. …
Meanwhile, workers and tenants have mixed emotions about the advent of the American Girl store, given its likely effect on traffic and parking.
Early-bird customers this week have discovered that the store is having a “soft opening” before its official grand opening Saturday. Girls and their mothers and fathers on Tuesday morning were lined up to peruse $90 dolls and thousands of books and accessories. The store also features a doll hair salon, where patient employees braid and curl the locks of customers’ dolls, and a cafe that is already booked for weekends through June.
More after the jump.
After mentioning the opening to a colleague, she told me about her friend who’s a hardcore fan of Mattel’s upscale toy line, and how at the other stores, it’s basically like a theme park. Indeed, the L.A. store appears to have the same amenities as the other stores, including shops, a cafe, and even a theater (where actresses will reenact characters’ backstories in a musical called The American Girls Revue).
Creating a store around a toy line is absolutely brilliant. It’s too bad such a store wasn’t around for us boys back in the ’80s, when GI Joe, The Transformers, and Robotech all had their respective toylines and weekday cartoons. I’m just sayin’.