The owner of regional clothing retailer South Moon Under lives at City Vista and recently reached out to the blog for input on a store location after reading several of our discussions about retail.
South Moon Under began as a surf shop in Ocean City in 1968 and over the years has expanded to more than a dozen locations in the suburbs of Virginia, Maryland, Delaware and eastern Pennsylvania. Product offerings have evolved from board sheets to a current focus on designer labels in clothing, handbags, decor and jewelry. After a recent successful opening at National Harbor the company is interested in opening a D.C. store but find the rents in the high profile shopping areas of the District prohibitively high.
Rents in the premium locations of Georgetown and F Street are so high that they only can be afforded by the national apparel retailers that you see everywhere. So we are trying to decide if we can come into a more neighborhood type of location and service the locals. Choosing a non prime location goes against all the advice we hear in retail but I personally think it could work.
I thought this was an interesting topic as conventional wisdom does suggest it is better for clothing retailers to cluster together with other similar businesses. Consumers typically prefer to be able to comparison shop at different stores during a shopping excursion. However residents in the urban setting do demonstrate strong preferences for patronizing businesses within convenient walking distance. The convenience of not having to get in the car or take a metro ride to Pentagon City may trump the preference of having a great variety of stores.
But that still begs the question of how far off the main shopping district makes sense? Would the Triangle be a viable location for a clothing apparel retailer like South Moon Under?
Feel free to respond with your feedback in the comments section to the following questions South Moon Under ownership has about shopping habits in the community:
# Where do you go to shop now? i.e. Pentagon City, Georgetown, F Street etc.
# What stores or catalogues do you like for your clothing?
# Have you heard of South Moon Under before or seen our web site?