The Suburbanization of Philly: 5 More Stores We Want Now That Target Is Taking Over

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The slow suburbanization of Philly. | Images via Shutterstock, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond and Wiki Commons.

The reaction to Target’s downtown expansion — a TargetExpress concept is coming to Center City next year; another location is opening in Midtown Village — was swift and overwhelmingly positive. And why wouldn’t it be? As I’ve said before, Target is the one of the last gleaming bastions of shopping efficiency that suburbanites cling to: Sure, you have better restaurants, but we have Target. There was, of course, the expected grumbling about the city’s descent into chain-dom, but I’d argue that even the most staunch naysayers would have to admit: Getting a Target is really pretty awesome.

But it also got me thinking: If one of the reasons we move to the suburbs is convenience — garages, big yards, grocery stores with decent-sized parking lots — what happens when Philly gets suburbanized? And, more importantly, is that what we secretly want?

Apparently, maybe just a little bit. I asked around for people’s dream retail wish list, and the answers point to something devoted city-dwellers might not want to admit: We want to bring the ‘burbs – or at least the shopping perks of the ‘burbs — to Philly. It makes sense: While Philly’s independent boutiques are part of the weird, wild fabric of our city, places like Target are, well, easy. And practicality — resounding, reliable practicality — counts for something.  So, here, in no particular order, are the five stores we’d like to see come to Philly next. The not-sexy, no-frills shops that might not win us any retail awards but would make our lives a hell of a lot easier:  Read more »

Awesome Retail News: Shop Sixty Five Is Opening in Center City in September

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Shop Sixty Five’s soon-to-open Center City location. | Photo via Google Maps.

The latest boutique to make the move to the city? Shop Sixty Five, which currently has two suburban locations (one in Doylestown and a newer outpost in Gladwyne). Owner Linda Bidlo confirmed in an email that she’s closing her Main Line location for Rittenhouse digs.

The boutique is slated to open at 1921 Walnut Street on September 1st. (You might remember this spot as the former location of Atelier Rittenhouse, which closed its doors last month.) Add it to your shopping roster, along with neighboring newbie Skirt, which is opening its third location at 212 South 17th Street in September. Welcome to the neighborhood, guys!

Timberland Opening Party in Philadelphia

From left: Elizabeth Wellington of the Philadelphia Inquirer, with Cherri Greg, Kirk Wardy and Melony Roy, all from CBS.

The fashionable set was on hand Wednesday night to celebrate the opening of Timberland, 1709 Walnut Street. Before I stepped into the showroom, I thought: “How is Timberland going to survive by only selling those yellow boots?” But I was pleasantly surprised to find Timberland now has a complete lifestyle line: The popular yellow boots were still available, but now they had dress boots, shoes, clothing and outer wear for men and women. The store itself — formerly Alfa American Tavern — is appealing, too, with its exposed brick, wood beams and skylight. It’s not your parents Timberland anymore

I especially loved that customers can custom-make your own shoes, with the color of leather you want to use, the stitching, shoelaces and you can have them monogrammed. I can see that will be a big hit, especially for the holidays. Timberland is perfect for Walnut Street, as it goes under its latest transformation with high-end chain stores moving into the tony Rittenhouse Square area. (The next stores to open are Vans, which opens by Friday across the street, and nearby Michael Kors by the end of the year.)

Photos from the Timberland opening party after the jump »

A Peek Inside ToBox, Center City’s Coolest New Men’s Store

ToBoxIt seemed to happen in an instant: One day, there was a nail salon at 25 South 19th Street. The next, an impossibly cool men’s shoe store. The owner, Tung To—you might recognize him from Boyd’s; he was in charge of the men’s shoe department for four years—admits it was a quick turnaround. He rallied friends to help build out the store. You’ll see their handiwork in the reclaimed wood shelving, the industrial light fixture overhead, and that salvaged sliding barn door. Everywhere else, you’ll see Tung’s impeccable eye for top-notch, best-you’ll-find-anywhere pieces (honed during his 15 years in Nordstrom’s shoe department): nine top brands of men’s shoes, all—with the exception of Frye—exclusive to Philadelphia; along with luggage and belts and, because no men’s store now is complete without a local artisanal bent, pocket squares and matching fabric lapel pins handcrafted by Tung’s wife.

Keep reading for all the details, a freebie this week only, and more photos.