Why Blaze closed — and what happens now
This week Blaze Pizza fans were shocked by our May 23rd report that the restaurant had closed its doors at Westfield Montgomery Mall. But take heart: A Blaze rep tells us the California-based chain is looking to open elsewhere in this area. The decision to close at the mall was made “after lease negotiations proved unsuccessful, and with respect to a combination of other factors including alterations to mall entrance signage,” says Blaze spokesman Joshua Levitt. In the end, he says, “We felt moving this location was the best strategy to the long-term health of the brand.” Stay tuned to Store Reporter for the latest on what’s cooking at Blaze. In the meantime, superfans can visit the next-closest locations in Laurel, College Park and Baltimore.
Other mall departures
Cleo’s Oil Bar, which opened just a year ago at Westfield Montgomery Mall, made a quiet exit last month after sales didn’t pour in as expected. Cleo’s had featured a winery-inspired layout where visitors could belly up to the bar for samples, then sip them from a seating area near the Godiva store. “Just didn’t fly,” sighs co-owner Linda Cameron, who continues to operate her original store in Annapolis. Cleo’s isn’t the only business to depart the mall in the last few weeks. Others include BCBG and Teavana, whose spaces will be taken by the expanding Apple Store (click here for more), and the restaurants Jamaican Mi Crazy and Lobster ME, which both closed on Monday along with Blaze Pizza (click here for more).
World of Beer opens in Rockville
Opening on Memorial Day in downtown Rockville: World of Beer, with 4,200 square feet of indoor/outdoor seating on the ground floor of the new Upton apartment building on Maryland Avenue. This will be the third Maryland location for the Florida-based company, with a fourth to follow in downtown Bethesda later this year. General manager Patrick Costello says customers can expect “a lively, fun and casual atmosphere, with 50 rotating taps, a great selection of locally made beers, an old-fashioned cask engine, and an infusion tower for making beer flavored with fruits and herbs.” The tavern-style menu is focused on burgers, wings, flatbreads and giant Bavarian pretzels. To check it out for yourself, click here.
Hardwood Artisans exits Rockville
The changes keep coming at Federal Plaza on Rockville Pike, where Ruby Tuesday closed last week and Hardwood Artisans is on the way out after nearly two decades at the same location. Demand for custom furniture has diminished in the current economy, a spokesman tells us, and business at the Rockville store had been slow for several years. Maryland customers can visit Hardwood Artisans at its recently opened location on St. Elmo Avenue in downtown Bethesda, which showcases a new line of space-saving condo furniture (click here to check it out). The Rockville store will close at the end of June. Who’s moving in? Payless.
Sports Authority’s final exit
This week Sports Authority kicked off its nationwide going-out-of-business sale, which will continue through the end of August. Returns and exchanges can be made through June 25th, store gift cards will be honored through the 28th, and extended warranties on Sports Authority products will remain in effect via a third-party company. But if you were planning to redeem the points accrued from your Sports Authority Loyalty Program, you’re out of luck: They just expired.