Renovations galore!

It looks like lately it's been time for an update for most retailers in the city. It seems as if with the surge of new names entering the market that tenants that have called Duluth home for many years now are taking the time to spruce things up. Duluth welcomed one of Taco Bell's very first locations of its new prototype last year. Taco Bell completed an extensive remodel at its 1031 W. Central Entrance location, a location that had been open for almost 20 years with no update whatsoever occuring. Patrons will be pleased with the new location, a remodel that had been in the works since the early 2000's. Sporting a very modern look, complete with glowing LED panels covering the facade, no more is there the bright orange southwestern look of Taco Bell's past, rather a clearly modern image has been introduced to give the chain new life.

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Another fast chain is almost done with the renovation of two of their Duluth locations. Burger King has taken on investing over a million dollars into it's location in order to update them to the current Burger King prototype. The new interiors take a modern approach featuring modern faux leather seating, stylish light fixtures, and various uses of sleek tile as accents. The locations are also one of the first fast food retailers in the area to use digital menus (TV screens). Gone is the brick, the bright blue accent colors, and the sloped roofs, now the exteriors feature stone, stucco, and warm neutral tones with red becoming the new accent color. The locations on Central Entrance and also out on 21st Avenue West were both remodeled as part of an extensive rebranding of Burger King's image in Duluth. You have to remember that McDonalds in the past three years invested significantly in remodeling their Duluth area locations, including the rebuild of two locations, so it shouldn't come as a surprise that Burger King is upping their anti. Burger King has invested $1.5 million in the renovation of the two locations in Duluth, and will invest $1 million more in the rebuilding of the London Road location. That location will be smaller than the current location on site at roughly 3,700 square feet. The move is taking place so that a retail strip center can be constructed on site which will house four new tenants to the area. The new Burger King will be a little more embellished than the two remodels we are assuming in the fact that it will take on the full Burger King prototype being displayed across various locations in Duluth.

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We posted a few months back on American Eagle Outfitter's remodel that will be occurring at the Miller Hill Mall. Now that the holiday season is over, the remodel is ready to begin. Look for work to begin this month with a completion date set for Late March / Early April 2014.

Storefront at Killeen Mall in Texas, Duluth's will be loosely based off of this design.

Hello new Coach store... and others.

We visited the new Coach store this weekend and were fairly impressed. It follows their typical store prototype design that was introduced a few years back and is covered in in tons of cremes, whites, and blacks. The inside is laden with purses and accessories galore, the world's softest carpet (at least we think) and even a men's line! We've included some photos of the new store below just incase you were dying of anticipation. We also uploaded pictures of the new Motherhood Maternity store, the new Spencer's, and the official box out for Express. It looks as if the mall may in fact be taking over a portion of the restrooms on that end of the mall for new Express store. The mall site plan shows a portion of the available space left over from the former Walgreen's store on the interior of the mall as now being subdivided, while it also shows a portion of the former restrooms also remaining. Makes us wonder if they are going to move the mall restrooms to the JCPenney side of the mall or if a new tenant may be on it's way in. Only time will tell.... Oh, and construction documents.

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The Coach has officially arrived.


It's here! Today is the day! Those coveted leather goods are now only a short drive away as Duluth's official Coach store opened this morning at 10am in the Miller Hill Mall. The retailer first reported back in February that they would be opening their first Northern Minnesota location come summer of 2013. They began construction on their store in the former Motherhood Maternity space back in April and after a little more than two months of construction they are ready to open their doors!

Now if you are wondering how they are opening before Express is opening their new Duluth location... well... there sometimes are issues with construction. Express was suppose to open their location in the former space of Abercrombie and Fitch last month, but due to construction issues the date has been pushed back to the second week of July (tentatively). As always we'll keep you updated with the latest news.

We'll be going on a scouting of the new Coach store come this weekend. Check back next week for pictures of the new store!

Until then, have a great weekend everyone!

JCP completes home furnishing area remodel

Boy, oh boy, have times gotten busy lately! And wow do we feel like we have neglected the blog! Sorry for that! We've been so busy that we forgot to post the pictures from our most recent visit to JCPenney back in May for the completion of the home furnishings department. We saw the DNT post about JCPenney and it caused us to kick ourselves for forgetting to upload these pictures.

How did it turn out? Absolutely amazing. It is way above what we expected. In fact, it truly feels as if you are in a completely different place than a JCPenney. It's so great that we feel that words cannot describe it and therefore have chosen to include a picture gallery for your viewing pleasure.

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Coach officially begins construction on Miller Hill Mall location

Coach has started construction on their new location at the Miller Hill Mall. The new 2,000 square foot women's AND men's designer wallets, bags, jewelry and accessories store will open in June. The space previously was occupied by Motherhood Maternity which recently moved to a new space between Kay Jewelers and Visionworks. Despite a warm tone to the exterior box out of the space, customers should expect to see Coach's ultra sleek, modern, and white prototype at the Miller Hill Mall. 

J.C. Penney creating a one stop.. home furnishing shop!? Or rather, a collection of shops.

Image J.C.Penney or jcp as it often referred to now, is continuing with adding new departments, or should we say "shops", to its Miller Hill Mall location and other locations across the country.

The most recent addition is Joe Fresh, a clothing company actually from Canada which is not just beginning to solidify it's U.S. presence at 680 J.C.Penney stores. The company has had a few pop up stores in the New York region and also has a permanent international flagship store on Fifth Avenue in New York City.  Joe Fresh, or "joe" as some people refer to it as, carries apparel and accessories for men, women, and children. So far J.C.Penney has only launched the women's portion of the Joe Fresh line in the Miller Hill Mall store and there is no word to if the other lines will be added to stores in the future. The new Joe Fresh department is located to the left of the main mall entry.


The most construction activity is actually happening on the second floor. It almost looks as if the half of the entire floor is under construction. J.C.Penney really is going to make a difference to their stores with the additions of the following brands that each will have their own "shops". As mentioned in previous posts, J.C.Penney is converting all their stores to a "store within a store" concept. Eventually J.C.Penney stores could be home to 120 different concepts.

JCP Home will be the new of the J.C.Penney line of home furnishings. The new space will feature laminent hardwood floors and grey walls with white base board and crown molding. The overall feel of the space will be a much "higher end" feeling.


In addition to JCP Home, another furnishings department will call the second level home. World renowed potter, designer, and author, Jonathan Adler, will be setting up shop with his "Happy Chic" concept line within J.C.Penney stores this spring. He launched his first cermaic collection in 1993 within Barney's New York and since then has expanded rapidly within other retailers and even his own stand alone retail stores. In fact, a Jonathan Adler retail store opened in Minneapolis' Uptown neighborhood last year. "Happy Chic" will feature a collection of handcrafted designer pottery, modern furniture, contemporary lighting, and other decretive elements.


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And another home furnishings designer will call the second level of J.C.Penney home! If you haven' caught on yet, they are creating a collection of home furnishing designers. The third concept will be presented by Michael Graves, the famous American architect who actually just wrapped up a 13 year deal with Target. You most likely have seen his designs within their stores, especially in the kitchenware area. He now will bring a new concept line to J.C.Penney stores this spring. Michael Graves' official press announcement of their partnering with jcp says that the new concept will feature "over 300 original designs ranging from kitchen appliances to candlesticks [and] is an inspired blend of modern and classical design elements mixed with the designer's legendary wit." We can't contain our excitement for this one!


You can't have a home furnishings department without some inspiration from Martha Stewart... or a whole concept line for that matter. But hey! Martha is sending something a little different to jcp stores this spring. Martha Celebrations features products designed for special occasions. Items like paper puffs, streamers, paper plates, napkins, etc, can all be found within her concept. Literally it's a one stop shop for a party planner.



J.C.Penney also will be adding a section completely devoted to Bodum products, a shop completely devoted to kitchenwares. The company, originally founded in Denmark in 1944, is well known for their french presses and other coffee producing products.

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Fresh cookies now being served!

(picture courtesy of the Great American Cookies facebook page)

The cookies are finally coming out of the oven! Great America Cookies officially opened for business in the Miller Hill Mall yesterday. The sweet smell of freshly baked cookies has now returned to the Miller Hill Mall. If you haven't tried one of their cookies then you are missing out!

The company started back in 1977 when Michael Coles and Arthur Karp invested $4,000 dollars to start a business that sold gourmet cookies. These weren't just any gourmet cookies however, these cookies came from an old family receipe passed on to Karp by his grandmother. The first store opened in Atlanta and today there are over 300 stores in the U.S., primarily in the Southeast. In fact, the Miller Hill Mall location is only the second location in Minnesota; Mall of America was the first and continues to operate today. And just incase you didn't already know, GAC is owned by the same company that owns Pretzelmaker (which already operates a store in the Miller Hill Mall food court), which could explain why the Miller Hill Mall location was prioritized. Many people seem to think the GAC is the same thing as Mrs. Fields... and to be honest.. they are actually quite similar. In fact, GAC was owned by Mrs. Fields in 1998, but don't pass them up because you feel like you've already had a cookie like theirs before. From first hand experience at a location in Georgia, we can tell you that they are absolutely delicious.

So what are the delicious cookie types offered? 

Original Chocolate Chip

Original Chocolate Chip with M&Ms

Peanut Butter with M&M’s

Peanut Butter Supreme



White Chunk Macadamia Nut

Chewy Chocolate Supreme

Chewy Pecan Supreme

Double Fudge

Oatmeal Walnut Raisin


Pecan Supreme

It doesn't get much better than that! And yes... they do offer giant cookies for every event you could possibly need one for! The store also sells fudge brownies that came in flavors such as Cheesecake and German Chocolate. The new store is located next to Best Buy Mobile in the space that formerly housed Verizon Wireless and is open during normal mall hours.

Update on the Miller Hill Mall. Looks like a little moving could be in the future?

It's official, Teavana and Torrid have been listed on the Miller Hill Mall website as coming soon. The other great thing is that we finally get to know where they will be going... well sort of. Torrid will be moving into the space that currently is occupied by Bristow's (that space is between Hot Topic and Journeys). Whether or not Bristow's will be moving to a new space or not is still up in the air. If you remember their past they have been located in quite a number of spaces in the mall and being that they are a small company with I believe only the Duluth store, it could be likely that their presence at the mall has ended due to the malls increasing rent. However, they very well could move to another space!

There are three possible locations for Teavana. They will be taking space #29 in the mall, which doesn't really isn't much help since they mall rid it's numbering maps from public view a while ago. What we do know is that it easily could take the former space of Trade Secret or that it possibly could go in the former Richard N's space and that the space they will be occupying is 500 square feet. Both are in the center court where it is listed as moving to. The also is another rumor on the front that the Gold Guys may move from their current location to the location where Better Massage (former Knights space) is located and that Teavana would take their space. I myself am not quite sure which space it is, I guess we'll have to wait and see what space gets boxed out first.

Lastly, it appears that the mall has set up the rest of the Great American space a single larger space, probably in hopes of trying to attract a store or restaurant of a little greater size. The space would be perfect for a number of tenants as it is large enough to fit a restaurant almost the size of Applebee's or a store the size of Coldwater Creek. Many retailers and restaurants fall in that larger square footage size. However, the mall could always subdivide it later on.

As far as other vacancies go in the mall. There currently is still the one interior space left in the redevelopment (next to Dress Barn), my hopes still are for a Godiva to locate in there. Yum. There is the space that kind of has held many temp tenants next to Finish Line, a space that really could hold a variety of different stores. Then there is the former North Shore bank space which is so small in size that I could really only see it as a fast food sort of space or another bank, unless the mall takes it over as more offices being their current offices are right next to the space. Obviously there are the two food court spaces (the former Dairy Queen/Orange Julius and the former Chicken Now spaces), both have been boxed out so that gives me hope that something is in the works for both spaces.

And at the moment I do believe those are all the updates I have for the Miller Hill Mall. Let me know if I missed anything.

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