A slew of other invited local bloggers and I mingled among plenty of pretty people last night at the new Tacoma Mall Nordstrom opening gala. The event was setup to benefit the Tacoma Art Museum and Museum of Glass as well as kick off the new 138,000 square foot retail space with a bang. Michael and I were immediately relieved that this was an open, wander, and enjoy kind of event rather than a sit down, be "entertained", and give us your money kind of fundraiser. Tons of people packed the new space that's full of style and service at seemingly every turn. Though the basics of the store feel much like the old Tacoma Mall Nordies (which is probably a branding consistency thing anyway) the layout of each section seemed unique and surprisingly open. My hope is that this room the maneuver won't disappear in favor of packing in the goods when they open for business this Friday.
We slowly wandered the entire store and took in some great fashion related people watching, the slightly un-exciting lounge style cover band, the impressive live fashion mannequins, tons of shopping and service in action, some tasty hors d'oeuvre and drinks, a handful of too cute hand-painted tiles by kids to benefit Mary Bridge, and even saw some peeps we know and met some we didn't. Jen, jcbetty, Steph DeR, Michael and I hooked up and walked around a bit together enjoying all the great quips that come from such a group after some libations have entered their systems.
Though not usually one for such hyper-social events I really enjoyed myself and think more local stores and shops should follow this example. Granted plenty of money went into this event but opening up your doors after hours for shows, concerts, or just to enjoy some food and mingling could be a great way to help wake up some corners of Tacoma's business districts while using the wonderful spaces we already have. Though I'm sure some others have done it the retailer in town that stands out in this regard is UrbanXchange with their live music and DJs spinning. Good on ya!
At any rate, I'm not a fan of the Mall at all for the crowds, mass concumption, and such but a place like Nordstrom is worth skirting all that nonsense and stopping into. The handful of times I've shopped and bought there I'm most impressed by their care and quality of service. They often come up at the office as a local example of how to do it right. I wish they decided to spend their money bringing big retail into downtown ;) but we're all Tacoma whether there or anywhere in the 253. I have been tacitly on the lookout for cologne (since I've never owned any) so may be back soon enough.