Even before the coronavirus, brick-and-mortar retailers and service providers faced challenges. E-commerce has put pressure on the sector for years. The pandemic, along with its related economic fallout, just accelerated the issue for many traditional stores. The result is that many have gone into Chapter 11 and may not be coming back.
Which is why it’s been rewarding to see a series of new businesses opening their doors this summer in Flagstaff. Their arrival here is the result of concerted recruitment efforts, sometimes over a period of several years, by the City of Flagstaff’s Economic Vitality team and the Economic Collaborative of Northern Arizona.
Tomorrow will be the opening of one of these retailers, Ulta Beauty, which is taking over the old Pier 1 Imports on South Riordan Ranch Street. Ulta is a national chain with more than 1200 stores that specialize in cosmetics, fragrance, skin and hair care products, and salon services.
The chain slowed down opening more stores this year because of the pandemic, but began again this month. The Flagstaff location is one of 30 new stores Ulta Beauty plans to open this year.
Over on the east side of the city, Flagstaff Collision Center (above) recently opened its 30,000-square-foot facility built by Wespac Construction in the Flagstaff Auto Center.
In addition to the bays for auto repairs, the site has extensive paint facilities, including two dedicated RV paint booths. The building is also eco-friendly, powered by solar panels on the roof to limit emissions.
Later this month, Hobby Lobby will open at the Flagstaff Mall in the space previously occupied by Sears. The 60,000-square-foot arts and craft mega store will employ about 50 people.
The addition of Hobby Lobby as an anchor is just one of the changes happening at the Flagstaff Mall, which is undergoing its first major renovation since 2007. The remodel, expected to be completed this fall, includes creating an outdoor space for people to relax as well as an indoor area dedicated to family-friendly entertainment.
We wish all of our new retail and service businesses well as they embark on their new ventures.