Crabtree Valley Mall has big news for American Girl fans: A temporary store will reopen in July at the Raleigh mall and remain open through Jan. 28.
This will be the second pop-up American Girl store at Crabtree. The first one was open for the 2016 holiday season - from October to late January. This time, the shop will be open even longer.
The closest permanent 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. American Girl features a line of 18-inch dolls, along with clothes, accessories, related toys and books.
Last year's temporary shop featured items from each of the popular brand's lines - though not every single item in every single line. There also was a doll hair salon where kids could have their American Girl doll's hair and nails done or ears pierced for between $10 and $25, depending on the service.
Judging from the crowd in the shop every time I was there, it was a smash hit.
"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," said Susan Jevens, associate manager of public relations for American Girl, when I spoke with her last year. "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."
"A permanent store is possible," she later told me in an email.
Liz Dombroski, store manager of last year's temporary shop, echoed that potential when I spoke with her in the fall. Once the shop closed, she said American Girl would take a look at the store's sales and shoppers' interest. At the time, she encouraged fans to contact customer service to let them know they want American Girl in the Triangle - all of the time. But she did note one hurdle: The company typically doesn't locate stores so close to each other and Charlotte is just a few hours away.
"They take that feedback and they listen to it," Dombroski said. "That's half the reason why we have a temporary store."
So far, no word on the possibilities of a permanent store, but that pop-up shop will be open for half of the year! Grand opening details are in the works, according to Crabtree's website. Stay tuned!