Garden State Plaza Welcomes Unique Retail Experience: The Gathering Shops

From The Gathering Shops:

The Gathering Shops, an innovative retail start-up, today announced that it will open its first store in early November within New Jersey’s largest mall, Westfield Garden State Plaza in Paramus. Tailored to Generation Y and Z shoppers, The Gathering Shops’ unique retail experience will center around a community of customers and up-and-coming designers collaborating through experiential and retail innovation. 

“Presently, small, boutique brands have limited access to nationwide mall retail, while malls lack these boutique brands” says Founder and Operational Director Sal Martorano. “The Gathering Shops addresses this problem by taking a full store and putting individual designer pods within it, allowing emerging designers to take total advantage of the foot traffic and product discovery that malls provide.”

With 15-20 boutique pods in the store, The Gathering Shops gives millennial shoppers direct access to the creations of diverse young designers. Putting a spin on the traditional “pop-up” concept, designers will have the ability to secure a short or long-term space in one of the most trafficked malls in America.

“Emerging designers have so much passion and a burning for their artistry” says Director of Talent Acquisition Anna Maria Sandegren. “I like to know what they’re doing and why they’re passionate about designing. Most of them have the most inspiring stories to tell.” With 25 years of industry experience, Anna Maria has curated an impressive collection of artisans for The Gathering Shops’ opening including Le Cruze, Terra New York, Digmi, Bread and Boxers, Soledad Lowe Jewelry and Diaboli Kill Jewelry.

“Millennials demand integrated, customer-centric shopping experiences. Our vision is to foster authentic interactions with boutique designers and their products, while providing those designers with a distribution channel previously unavailable to them” says Founder and Managing Member Brandt Mandia.

Opening in time for the busy holiday season, The Gathering Shops will be a destination for shoppers to discover new products and brands, and have personal interactions with their designers. Rotating undiscovered designers will create a treasure hunt like experience for the consumer. Regular events, designer presentations and runway shows will be hosted in-store to feature current and upcoming designers of apparel, jewelry, beauty, wellness, home and other goods.

With built-in sales support, designers will be provided with everything they need to sell: point-of-sale systems, staff, security and marketing. Each brand and product will be showcased in an inviting, comfortable atmosphere with great lighting, dressing rooms, seating, and a café at the center of the store.

“Westfield Garden State Plaza is excited to welcome The Gathering Shops. The center has always been an incubator for new retail concepts, and The Gathering Shops’ focus on trend-setting, up-and-coming designers will fit perfectly with our dynamic, fashion-forward retail mix” says Garden State Plaza’s Senior Marketing Director Lisa Herrmann.

The Gathering Shops experience will extend beyond the store with a robust online presence and custom app that includes designer profiles, customer browsing, e-commerce, virtual dressing rooms, event notifications and more. “The app fosters a unique and special shopping experience where you connect with products and brands on an authentic and personal level” adds Mandia.

Click here to see the virtual rendering.