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Local Merchants Jump to Short Pump

Scott Dickens, who owns Glass & Powder with his wife, Cara, and Sandy Appelman, says the presence of local merchants will give Short Pump Town Center "that hometown credibilty."

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Representatives of Stony Point, which opens Sept. 18, say only that they're in negotiations and cannot yet reveal which local merchants may open there.

Owners of businesses expanding to Short Pump say they're hoping to reach a new crowd of people who live in the far West End, maybe even in Charlottesville — those who are more likely to visit the mall regularly and save city spots like Carytown for special, "destination" shopping trips.

Stony Point, although a similarly upscale, outdoor-designed mall, is a little too close to home turf for many. Franco Ambrogi, founder and co-owner of Franco's Fine Clothier, says he passed over Stony Point because the customers there would be the same as those who visit his Bellgrade shop.

The merchants making the jump say they believe it'll be a substantial boon to business. Mall customers are a different crowd from the ones who visit her Cary Street shop, Brockwell says. "The Carytown customer has money, she knows what she wants. She comes in and buys it. … She's not as price-conscious as a mall shopper."

Of course, there's more competition from national chains at a mall. At the new Soak!, Brockwell says, she'll offer specials and services to stay competitive, such as free makeovers and makeup consulting at a sit-down counter, the Cosbar.

Ambrogi says he doesn't worry about national competitors at Short Pump. "We will be the leader in quality there," he says.

Nor does Scott Dickens, co-owner of Carytown's recently expanded Glass & Powder. The mall guaranteed the surf and board shop would be the only one of its kind there.

"I don't like malls," Dickens says. "I don't like enclosed, corporate kind of places." What drew him, he says, was the open-air, Main-Street style of Short Pump Town Center. The coming of local stores will give that atmosphere some credibility, he says, though he concedes no mall can duplicate the charms of Carytown.

All three merchants say they expect to temporarily lose some business, perhaps 10 to 15 percent, at their current locations when the mall opens. Joining the roster of local merchants in Short Pump will be Cocoanut Jewelry and Beauty Nail.

— Melissa Scott

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