American Girl to open temporary Raleigh store; permanent store 'possible'
Posted August 18
American Girl, the wildly popular seller of dolls and related items, will open a temporary store at Crabtree Valley Mall this holiday season.
The location at the Raleigh mall, near Sears, will open Oct. 1 and remain open through Jan. 31. The store will feature an assortment of the popular American Girl dolls, books and accessories, along with the Doll Hair Salon, where the dolls can get everything from updos to manicures.
The closest American Girl store to Raleigh is at Charlotte's SouthPark, where special hotel packages draw shoppers from across the southeast to load up on new dolls and accessories, visit the salon and have a meal or tea at the store's restaurant. In Charlotte, salon packages run between $5 and $25 for the services for the dolls. Like the Charlotte store's salons, where slots can fill up on weekends and during school breaks, customers can make reservations for their dolls on the day of the visit. A restaurant is not planned at the Raleigh temporary store.
American Girl also is opening temporary stores in San Antonio, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Indianapolis, Detroit and Portland this year, said Susan Jevens, associate manager of public relations for American Girl.
"We look at a variety of factors when choosing our retail locations, including market size and demographics, population density, geographic balance among our existing stores, and our current and potential customer base," Jevens tells me. "Raleigh is a top destination for families and Crabtree Valley Mall is a great fit for our brand and provides us with a great opportunity to bring our American Girl experience to the market."
Could this mean that Raleigh might be in the running for a permanent store? Jevens has a hopeful answer for American Girl fans.
"A permanent store is possible," she tells me in an email. "However, right now, our focus is on opening this temporary store in October."
A grand opening celebration is set for Saturday, Oct. 1, and Sunday, Oct. 2. Tickets will be required to take part in the grand opening events, which will include a complimentary gift and craft, while supplies last, that weekend.
Tickets will only be available one hour before the opening of the store each day, Oct. 1 and Oct. 2. Entrance tickets will be available near the store entrance and will only be valid on the day they are issued. (So, if you go on Saturday, Oct. 1, to get a ticket, you can only use that ticket to attend the grand opening on Saturday, Oct. 1). That weekend, American Girl will be hosting a drawing for a free Lea Clark Girl of the Year doll and book.
The store hours during opening weekend will be 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Oct. 1, and noon to 7 p.m., Oct. 2. The mall opens two hours before the store. (I expect there will be a line of eager parents and kids with their dolls that weekend!). American Girl's website has more information about the grand opening celebration.