Pearl Izumi to open brand store in Dallas area

Pearl Izumi will open its first full-price brand store called "Pearl Izumi USA" in the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas in a partnership with a long-time area retailer and former Lady Foot Locker executive Willy Gugel.

Pearl Izumi will open its first full-price brand store called "Pearl Izumi USA" in the Dallas-Fort Worth area of Texas in a partnership with a long-time area retailer.

The store, to be run in a partnership with former Lady Foot Locker executive Willy Gugel, is expected to open by June in the upscale Trinity Commons area of Fort Worth. It will carry as close to the full line of running, cycling and outdoor apparel that Gugel can muster in the 2,300-square-foot space.

"This'll be like walking through a catalog, with live ambiance," said Gugel, who approached Boulder, Colo.-based, Pearl Izumi in January with the concept.

"I have been looking for an industry-leading fitness brand with a full complement of quality products to bring to retail in the Dallas metroplex," Gugel told SNEWS. "Pearl Izumi was the perfect fit."

For Pearl Izumi's part, the goal is to build brand awareness, which in turn will also benefit local area retailers, said Geoff Shaffer, marketing manager. "This gives us an opportunity to educate consumers," Shaffer added. "It's also going to be a great opportunity to have our entire line on display in one place."

Currently, Pearl Izumi has five discount outlets in the country, including two in Northern California, one in Utah, one in Georgia, and one in Colorado. Gugel said the market is right for Pearl Izumi since the demographic has gotten younger and is very athletic and active, with a large cycling community and weather that is conducive nearly year-round to outdoor activities.

Despite challenging economic times, Gugel remains upbeat about the future.

"This consumer is very concerned with the war and the economy, but this consumer is dedicated to their sport and is brand loyal," he said. "I think they will stick to their sport -- it is for peace of mind and for restoring yourself. Although it is a difficult time at retail, it could also be an excellent time."

SNEWS View: With the introduction in the last couple of years of footwear for both cycling and running, Pearl has become a one-stop brand, and it certainly does have a devoted following -- a following that has again become stronger as the brand has re-emerged of late. Local retailers may worry about the competition, but time and time again studies have shown that brand stores actually increase business for that brand at other stores. Although it's not exactly an ideal time to be entering a new retail venture, the name could lend itself to the endeavor strongly enough to give it a hand toward success.



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