The “big move” by local fashion retail boutique A.K. Rikk’s to its new free-standing, impeccably designed store has been simmering under a lid of secrecy since store President Jim Murray made the big announcement in the spring. With the anticipation building, Murray and his team opened their doors today for industry insiders and press to get a little preview and sneak peek before their official soft opening tomorrow, August 24th 2012.
To say the new location is an upgrade from Rikk’s old space would be a failure of the English language. The square footage of the new space is exponentially bigger. The quantity, quality and variety of merchandise is exceptional. But these improvements alone are not what overwhelms a visitor to this new destination. There’s something more.
Pride. There is pride in every last detail. From floor to ceiling (and in every inch between) the details are unforgettable. During the tour, personal stylist and A.K. Rikk’s team member Matt Sova shone with this pride as he showed off room after room.
The Grand Gallery, the large two story jaw-dropping entry space sets the tone immediately, featuring an enormous video wall and a moveable display stage that can hold the weight of a car (or perhaps some professional models?).
Not only has Rikk’s, formerly known as only a men’s store, officially embraced and expanded it’s women’s retail, they will be dipping their collective toes into kid’s and home as well. The first level will feature the main men’s and women’s retail sections, divided equally on either side of the store, as well as the kid’s room.
This delightful and colorful room will provide a place for parents to relieve themselves of their rambunctious little ones and get some serious shopping done. And when responsibility kicks in, the parent can simply ask his/her sales team member to show the live video feed on an iPad to make sure the rug-rat isn’t causing trouble. Isn’t technology great?
Speaking of technology. I was given a sneak peek at how Rikk’s is stepping into the future with complete digital control of the store. With a simple tap on her iPad, Amy Carpentier (Assistant to the President) can dim the lights, lower the shades, change the music, crank up the volume, or cash out your purchase. There are no checkout register stations in this store.
Up the grand staircase, on the second floor, live the men’s suiting and custom made area and the new home and furniture sales floor. With rugs made by the local Scott Group (who have also made rugs for the last 3 president’s oval office) and a chandelier made from antlers directly acquired from a local ranch, the mens suiting area has a feeling of exclusivity.
All of these details are only the surface! With each corner turned, there is a new chic and perfectly designed wall treatment matched with the perfect ceiling of beaded wall-paper or metallic paint. Each restroom, dressing room, shelf and hallway are treated with the same level of importance. Every lighting fixture is grander than the next. The desire to stay and sit in the plush leather, or sip a glass of wine while watching HGTV on a giant flatscreen in the home and furniture section is undeniable. With the staff as friendly as they are, they would probably welcome any guest to stay all day.
But, perhaps more important than the wall coverings, the enormous sales floor, and the exceptional finishing, is a project that aims to give back to the community and make A.K. Rikk’s more than just a retail store.
The Backroom at A.K. Rikk’s will be something interesting to watch. The project will seek to create a space where local creative and exceptional youth can work and develop their skills. ThroughThe Backroom, Rikk’s hopes to encourage the local talent to stay local. From clothing designers to fashion merchandisers, from artists to models, the space will be versatile, and the project will grow and change as it is realized.
The tour was not yet at its end. One last stop… deeper and deeper down the rabbit hole of fascination.
A large, open space with two-story ceilings and glass garage doors opening to the A.K. Rikk’s “park” of a backyard, is the store’s event space. Fashion shows. Charity dinners. Collection premiers. Lectures. The space is versatile and wonderful. The indoor-outdoor connection makes the space feel open and airy. The back porch is reminiscent of the meat-packing district in New York City. The back garden feels like a wonderful little park. It is certain that many a grand and gloriously chic event will be seen by this space.
With that, the tour concluded. The new A.K. Rikk’s is more a destination than a store. The focus on creating something new and exciting is clear. And the pride that shines in every member of A.K. Rikk’s team is well deserved! Congratulations to the entire team for all the hard work they put into birthing this new venture, and the best of luck with everything to come!
A.K. Rikk’s soft opening will be tomorrow, August 24th, 2012. The official Grand Opening Celebration will be for Fashion’s Night Out September 6th, 2012.