iPic opens this week at Pike & Rose — and we’ve got free tickets
The curtains rise this Friday at the iPic Theater on Rockville Pike, where a Halloween-themed opening party will kick things off with stilt-walkers, a DJ, Thriller dancers and other fun stuff. The luxurious theater, featuring leather reclining seats and “ninja” waiters who stealthily deliver food during the movie, is one of the first tenants to open at the new Pike & Rose development off Montrose Parkway. Opening festivities will continue all week with live entertainment and fundraising for local charities. Interested in checking out the iPic for yourself? We thought so. We’ve got FREE tickets exclusively for Store Reporter readers. Click here to enter this week’s ticket giveaway by email, and to find out who won last week’s ArcLight Cinema tickets. Or click here to enter via Facebook. Winners will be chosen next week.
Bye Bye Bellini
Bellini, the upscale baby-to-teen furniture chain, will close its Rockville Pike store next month after 24 years at the same shopping center. Co-owner Mario Anvari says Rockville’s demographics have changed since the early ’90s, and the baby boom has shifted to Bethesda, Washington and Northern Virginia. With that in mind, Anvari and his partners are looking to reopen their franchised store at a new location in Arlington. “The younger generation who move here for jobs are choosing to live closer to D.C., so we wanted to try an area that’s closer to our customer base,” Anvari says. All bedding and furniture in the Rockville store has been marked down for clearance.
Slip sliding away
Creative Playthings, the Virginia-based playground company, has closed its Rockville Pike store after six months in the old Harry & David space at Congressional Plaza. The shopping center location marked a new strategy for Creative Playthings, which previously operated from a Gaithersburg warehouse district — and store manager Martin Barrera says walk-in traffic proved better than he’d even hoped. “Being next to The Fresh Market, a baby store and a toy store was absolutely awesome, since people found us just by walking around,” he says. “We actually experienced some emotional purchases right on the spot. Sadly, though, our lease was temporary and we could not afford to keep that location open year-round.” Look for Creative Playthings to surface elsewhere in Rockville next spring.
Sears has no exit strategy
When was the last time you shopped at Sears? The 128-year-old company, whose stores and mail-order catalogs were once a mainstay of the American retail landscape, has been sliding into irrelevance as 21st century shoppers find more compelling places to buy their clothes and household goods. At Westfield Montgomery Mall, the presence of a dowdy Sears store seems oddly out of step with a $90 million renovation designed to lure upscale customers. So this week, when reports surfaced about yet another round of Sears closings, we wondered whether it might be time for that store to make a graceful exit. But a company spokesman assures Store Reporter that’s not going to happen. The Montgomery Mall Sears store and its neighboring auto center are “not impacted” by impending closings and will continue to operate as usual, the spokesman says.