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Urban Outfitters now fitting Nob Hill?

February 21, 2008

Nothing gives you street cred like shopping at chain retailer, right?  Certain Duke City urbanites have clamored for for years, begging for urban chic clothiers to infiltrate Burque’s turquoise lined coffers. While ABQ Uptown has fancied a few foreigners, it’s failed to allure a number of the boutique-big guys: American Apparel, H&M, Urban Outfitters, and high-end label specialty stores. Well, folks, a new day might be ready to dawn. Through some strange sorcery, Urban Outfitters may actually materialize in Nob Hill.

The legend has circulated for years and, yes, many passed it off as mere myth. A myth? Maybe no more. Evidence? Urban Outfitters is looking for a store manager in Albuquerque. Granted, this is the only job posting for the Albuquerque manager position I can find. Granted, I can’t find the date for when this job posting was, uh, posted. But you don’t go around posting for positions you don’t intend to exist, right?

Fantasy! you say? Well, the idea isn’t as far fetched as you may want to believe. Late last year, Urban Outfitters, Inc. opened an Anthropologie in ABQ Uptown. A first dip in the muddied waters of the Rio Grande! Once you go Grande… (I’ll leave that one right there). Anyway, the Company is here; right in your own faux new urban retail center (read: outdoor mall). Do you really think we’re that far removed from an Urban Outfitters proper?

So what is this about Nob Hill? Well, I’ve heard from at least one Nob Hill business owner about some shifty UO operatives creeping around the ‘hood. Something about a spot really close to Il Vicino. Nah, there is no space there. Perhaps a new tenant at The Place? Perhaps. I haven’t heard any announcements on future tenants, yet. We’ll just have to wait and see. Uptown is clearly out. Too shiny, not enough vacant square footage–yet. Downtown? Nope. Downtown is having a chicken or the egg problem. Look, either folks need to move down there or shops need to open up down there. One has to come before the other. Stop waiting for some cosmic big bang to make it all happen at once. So as it is, Downtown is out and Nob Hill must be in.

How you like dem apples? Sure.  There is a lot of hocus pocus magic type-o-stuff going on, but there is something going on. What exactly, eh…over it.

14 Comments leave one →
  1. Phil permalink
    February 22, 2008 10:20 am

    Rumor has it the owner of the recently renovated space next to Objects of Desire (where Camera & Darkroom used to be) has been pushing hard to get UO into that space for some time. Sounds like maybe she’s been successful.

    To be honest, I’m bummed if this is true…Nob Hill has thrived for 20 years without the presence of any national retailers, and I’m not exactly excited to see that start to break down. How will Nob Hill’s hosts of locally-owned boutiques compete with well-heeled national chains? I’m afraid of the answer, and even more afraid of a future Nob Hill that looks just like ABQ Uptown, only with faster-moving cars.

  2. February 22, 2008 11:18 am

    speaking of new places moving into town..I heard an In-N-Out was on its way to the westside anybody know?

  3. Mario permalink
    February 22, 2008 11:43 am

    While I would agree that I wouldn’t want Nob Hill to be overrun with National or Regional Chains, I do thin UO is the perfect complement to the area. UO often opens in areas such as Nob Hill and they generally don’t brings others with them. I have wanted a store here for many years, and only 3 areas make sense, Downtown, Nob Hill, or the University area. I hope the rumor mill is true.

  4. Mario permalink
    February 22, 2008 1:04 pm

    So I followed your link to the job opportunity. I wouldn’t say UO is indeed coming just yet. Like you mentioned Anthropologie is already here, and they could be looking for a new store manager already (not unusual in retail). The job listing you showed say STORE MANAGER: URBAN OUTFITTERS, INC. Since they put Inc. which is the corporate name for all their brands that is quite vague. I work downtown at Gap’s Corporate office and Gap, Banana Republic, and Old Navy all fall under the Gap Inc. name. So let’s not get ahead of ourselves just yet.

  5. Mario permalink
    February 22, 2008 1:05 pm

    J – where did you hear the In-N-Out rumor? That is news to me, but welcome news as well.

  6. El Orange permalink
    February 22, 2008 1:53 pm

    @Phil. The space next to Objects kind of makes sense, although I’m not sure if there is enough sq footage for your typical UO store. As for national chains moving into NH… well, they’re successful because they’re meeting a demand. If local stores were meeting that demand with UO’s supply, maybe things would be different. National chains moving in could actually help local boutiques, too. Folks coming down to NH for Big Time Retailer might poke into Local’s Place. I’d venture, most of the retailers interested in NH are checking it out b/c of its character (for one) and would likely try to fit in as best they can. Heck, we don’t hear too many complaints about Buffalo Exchange.

    @Mario. You’re right. The job posting is certainly vague, and the same thought crossed my mind. However, mixing the job opp with some of the whispers passed my way (and apparently others’), I suspect theABQ Anthropologie will see a corporate cousin in town.

    @J. Best I can tell, In-N-Out doesn’t have any plans to move into Burque. They’re a pretty tightly held family owned operation out of SoCal. While all over the place in CA (especially, Southern), they’re more difficult to find the farther you are from the surf. Their only out of state locations are in Nevada and Arizona. INO expansion tends to follow SoCal expats. Hey! We have that in our favor, but it doesn’t amount to an In-N-Out of our very own. I’d welcome the chain, but regional burger operators are oddly respectful of each other’s territory. Blakes is an elderstatement in that industry… it took a while for TX’s Whataburger to find its way here, and, likewise, SoCal’s Carl’s Jr. took its sweet time en route to Burque.

  7. Phil permalink
    February 22, 2008 5:14 pm

    Yeah, El Orange, but national chains are also successful because they can manipulate prices in ways that small local boutiques can’t. This is why Wal-Mart is both hideously successful and famous for destroying local retail businesses. I’m not suggesting UO is like Wal-Mart (their owners support similar political causes, but that’s another story…), but I would immediately worry for the health of small retailers who sell similar merchandise, and there are a lot of those in Nob Hill. But maybe you’re right, and it would bring more people in overall…here’s hoping.

  8. February 23, 2008 3:04 pm

    I know thats what I said about In-N-Out too. But the person I talked to said they are just working on a land deal. From what I heard it was a Whataburger but they heard its a In-N-Out.

  9. El Orange permalink
    February 25, 2008 11:10 pm

    @Phil. Mega corporate retailers can manipulate prices, for sure, but no one forces us to buy at said places. People shop where they shop for a variety of reasons. If supporting local business is high on your or my list, then hopefully we can maintain the financial good health of our local merchants and artisans.

    @J. I’d welcome In-N-Out with the warmest of embraces, but I’d put my money on a Whataburger.

  10. Mario permalink
    March 7, 2008 4:05 pm

    It is safe to say UO is not coming to ABQ anytime soon. Follow the link, which will show stores planned for 2008 and we are not on the list. They don’t hire managers until 4-6 months prior to opening, so that posting had to be for Anthropologie.

    I also found a list of TJ’s planned for 2008, and no ABQ.

    Nice looking out, but no exciting retail/restaurant news to report except for California Pizza Kitchen coming to ABQ Uptown in August.

  11. Mindy permalink
    March 17, 2008 8:25 pm

    When I went to the lovely Anthro store in December 07, I was brave enough to ask a sales clerk. She affirmed the UO rumor and the other clerk concurred. They said it will be downtown in the ‘new place’, whatever that means. I’m a little new to ABQ and VERY new to downtown so I’m not sure what that means, but they work for UO INC. and if anyone would know….

    Also about the job listing and on the store’s website….well, I didn’t see jack about Anthro, yet there they are, glistening like little capitalist gems in the uptown area that ABQ planners thoughtfully turned around to a decent place….now if only I still lived in the NE heights *sigh*

  12. Mario permalink
    March 20, 2008 3:42 pm

    Anthro was on the website prior to opening. Until UO has inked an official lease signing, it won’t be on the website. So no deal is final until then. I hope they are right though! The only new place I can think of is the Anasazi Lofts which is currently under construction.

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