On Thursday, November 1, the technology and e-commerce giant will open an “Amazon 4-star” store at the Park Meadows shopping mall in Lone Tree. The roughly 4,000 square-foot store—only the second of its kind—will feature “highly rated products from the the top categories across Amazon.com,” according to a media advisory released by the company.
The brick-and-mortar will feature only products that are rated four stars or better by customers, are top-sellers on Amazon.com, or are “new and trending,” according to the company’s release. Throughout the store, there will also be collections of products that are trending around Denver so that it is “a direct reflection” of the customers’ preferences, says Cameron Janes, vice president of physical stores at Amazon. A similar concept launched in September in New York City and a third location is planned for Berkeley, California.
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Amazon’s new concept will join the 220 stores and restaurants at Park Meadows and will be located on the upper level near Macy’s, between Lolli and Pops confectionary and a 6,000 square-foot Lululemon store opening in mid-November. It’s unclear how long Park Meadows, the largest retail shopping mall in Colorado, spent in negotiations with Amazon, but this opening “falls into what is expected from Park Meadows,” says Pamela Kelly, the shopping center’s senior general manager. “We’re always excited about the many retail milestones that we make.”
Janes says Amazon selected Park Meadows specifically—and the metro Denver area broadly—because it wanted to be in a place with a wide diversity of shoppers. “Lone Tree fits that bill really well,” he says.
Jeff Holwell, economic development director for the city of Lone Tree, says Park Meadows is very active in their own leasing and recruitment of new tenants and that the city was not involved in luring Amazon’s 4-star store to the shopping center. But he says Lone Tree is “absolutely excited” that Park Meadows was able to bring in Amazon. “It will definitely have a big impact in Lone Tree,” Holwell says. “Because Park Meadows is a regional facility, it attracts shoppers from across Colorado. It will have an impact for the people who visit Park Meadows, as well.”
Amazon’s announcement that it’s opening a store in Lone Tree comes at a time when traditional department stores across the country like Sears have shuttered and declared bankruptcy—in some cases exacerbated by Amazon’s force in the marketplace. But the brick-and-mortar stores at Park Meadows remain successful because, despite the rise of online shopping, “It’s about all platforms,” Kelly says. “You have to be a very experiential brick-and-mortar and address all aspects of a person’s lifestyle and how they shop. If you give people something worth experiencing they’ll go out and experience it.”
Janes echoed that sentiment when asked why the e-commerce behemoth is now opening physical stores. “We’re constantly looking at how we can innovate for our customers and provide them with a different customer experience,” he says. “We believe building a store that is built around the preferences of our customers is new and unique and it’s those kinds of ideas that we seek to bring to offline retail.”
The news from Amazon also comes amidst national speculation about where the Seattle-based company will build its second North American headquarters (HQ2). In September 2017, Amazon announced it was seeking proposals for the new headquarters and in January 2018 it announced Denver was among the 20 finalists. Since then, there has been little word from the company about HQ2, but CEO and founder Jeff Bezos said in September that a decision would come by the end of the year. The physical store opening in Colorado is “very unrelated” to the HQ2 selection process, according to Janes. “There’s a team of smart people who are thinking about HQ2,” he says. “These two are not related.”
Editor’s Note 11/1/18: This story has been updated to include comments from Amazon representatives.