I want to thank the creator and owner of this blog, KavanM, for adding me on as a contributor of original posts! Anyone reading my comments to previous posts on this blog can easily guess that the one retailer I would like to see come to The Collection more than any other is an Apple Store. Information from a few different sources make me think that we won’t see one here any time soon. Probably not, at least. But there is a glimmer or two of hope.
The local area can support an Apple Store, even though there is one at The Oaks in T.O. about 30 or 40 minutes away, and one on State Street in Santa Barbara closer to an hour away, and also one in Simi Valley at the Town Center. I mostly go to the one in T.O., often to just ask a question of one of the “geniuses” – how convenient it would be to have one just a mile or two from home.
Every time I go to the T.O. store, I ask them, “When are you going to open up an Apple Store in Oxnard, specifically at The Collection, which would be a perfect place for one!”, and I would always get an answer like “Oh, well, you know, they never tell us what their plans are, and yada yada yada…”, but the last time I went there a few weeks back, the guy I talked to actually had a meaningful answer. He said he agreed that an Apple Store would totally fit at The Collection, but after seeing what has happened at the Simi Valley Town Center, Apple wants to take their time and wait to see that The Collection really gets established with a full slate of retailers (and dining establishments of course) that aren’t likely to close up shop any time soon.
The Simi Valley Town Center, for whatever reason(s), – be it the economic downturn, or a bad location, or a bad mix of tenants or lack of a movie cinema or not enough of a population to support it or whatever – is in bad shape right now. Many if not most of the original tenants are gone, and many spaces are empty. Vacant storefronts are plastered over with the same type of generic mega-graphics like the empty spaces at The Collection are, but the difference is that in Simi, those are stores that have exited and at The Collection, those are spaces waiting for their first tenants. But the effect is the same as far as Apple is concerned – not a lot of activity in Simi other than at the Apple Store and Macy’s, and Apple doesn’t want to repeat that here so they are being very cautious.
And then there’s this: Apple apparently isn’t opening up a lot of stores in the USA in general. By far, their biggest expansion efforts are going on overseas. According to a recent informative piece in Forbes Magazine, Apple opened 28 new stores in fiscal year 2013, only four of those were in the USA although there were also a few other “expanded” stores opened in place of older, smaller ones in the same malls. “Apple relocated two existing stores to other shopping malls (several miles away), taking advantage of changing demographics, and probably more attractive lease conditions from competing mall developers.”, as written in the Forbes piece. It doesn’t say how many miles away “several” miles away is, I wonder if it’s a lot less than the roughly 35 miles between The Collection and The Town Center.
So probably no realistic hope for an Apple Store at The Collection for a number of years, but hopefully someday. Unless by chance Apple is thinking it might not be a bad idea to re-establish Simi Valley’s location here at a brand new, upscale center in highly populated western Ventura County, maybe? Either way, what needs to happen first is for The Collection to really start filling up their empty spaces with quality, long term tenants. I think The Collection is doing a bang up job with their dining establishments, and have planned well in having Century Theaters and the big anchors such as Target, Whole Foods, REI and now the new high profile H&M store, but they really need to fill up the rest of the empty storefronts!! Other than in a few heavily trafficked corners, the place still looks and feels really empty. This drawn out process is starting to get old. Hopefully in 2014 the influx of new stores will really accelerate.