Thursday, July 21, 2011

Apparently, Ann Loves Dayton: Ann Taylor Opens Concept Store at The Greene

Ann Taylor Concept Store - Trip July 16th

 Nestled conveniently between Ann Taylor Loft and just a few steps away from Sephora at the Greene Town Center is a new Ann Taylor store. But this one supposedly is SPECIAL. In fact, there are only a handful of THIS type of Ann Taylor store around, or so I'm told. They are located in New York, Miami, Atlanta, Seattle, Dallas, Boca Raton, and Pheonix. And now, Ann Taylor Concepts has come to Dayton.

Ann Taylor Concept Store - Trip July 16thOn July 5th I received a notice from an Ann Taylor PR person that Ann Taylor was opening a new "Concepts" store at The Greene.  This letter informed me that it was a different type of Ann Taylor store. an "extension of the brand's rejuvenation". Apparently Ann is trying to overhaul her image, be more fashion forward, and focus on "ease" and "sophistication". The description of the store I was given described it as being a being a more intimate shopping experience, and that the best looks of the season would be featured on a runway of mannequins down the middle of the store.This all makes sense and sounds lovely but I was left with one question: Why Dayton???
 Ann Taylor Concept Store - Trip July 16th
In an attempt to learn more, I attended a special opening of the store. I took a few minutes to speak with one of the store's employees to ask a few questions:

Why A "Special" Store in Dayton?
Believe it or not, Dayton's a big shopping area. At least that's what I heard from the sales associate. My thought was "Wow, so I guess all the wardrobes I've been purchasing to support my weight loss online from Ann Taylor and Ann Taylor Loft finally paid off!"

Ann Taylor Concept Store - Trip July 16th
What IS Special About This Store?
According to the Sales Associate, this store will feature more looks that you can't find in other Ann Taylor stores. It will also feature more of the "Covetables" as she called them.

What's a Covetable?
Jewelry and shoes, of course! Accessories!

Ann Taylor Concept Store - Trip July 16th
My Impressions
Honestly, the store itself didn't seem that innovative, the way the PR person described it in her initial email. There were mannequins down the center, and the off shoots on the sides containing the corresponding pieces. I did like how everything in each area seemed to coordinate. It made shopping in this store very easy. They went for the "boudoir" feel in the dressing room area, with cushy square couches, and three-way mirrors on either end. The staff here was extremely helpful, and interested in making a personal connection. I got the impression that if you develop a relationship with a particular associate you might be able to snag yourself a personal shopper, or at least a great resource.

Ann Taylor Concept Store - Trip July 16th
This dress walked home with me.
A Word Of Caution On Sizing
They size large here. While I'm happy I'm fitting into a size 8 dress now, I don't think Ann Taylor's Size 8 is the same as other size 8s. Vanity sizing is at work.

So What's So Cool About The New Store? Bottom Line
Honestly, not much. The clothing was nice, the layout was nice, but it didn't scream "new" and "innovative" to me. I did have an awesome shopping experience, however. I walked out with quite a hefty bag of additions to my wardrobe. While this is a nice store and you may want to visit, the pieces that caught my eye were ones you could find just as easily on Ann Taylor online. I see the word "Concepts" being attached to this as a bit of a gimmick. Whether this store turns out to be truly different... I think that remains to be seen. I will have to visit again when it isn't Grand Opening weekend and see how I am treated as a customer.

Tip: Make sure to price match check when you shop - had I been a bit quicker on the drop I might have gotten my dress for cheaper.