The bad news is Trenholm Plaza is not getting an Ann Taylor store despite a company spokeswoman’s confirmation last week. The good news is it is getting a Loft, which is a clothing store in the same family as Ann Taylor.
Both are owned by Ann Inc., with Loft selling a more casual collection.
But enthusiastic Ann Taylor shoppers still will be able to get their fix in Columbia. An Ann Taylor store is planned for Harbison’s Columbiana Centre, a spokeswoman said.
Ann Inc. has been focusing on overhauling its brands in recent years, and now Columbia will get its newest concept Loft and Ann Taylor stores.
The Loft store at Trenholm Plaza is set to open at the end of June, the company and the Columbia-based Edens development company said.
It features a “style closet,” leading into the fitting rooms that are considered the heart of the store. It also has an open space with plush seating and the season’s “must-have pieces,” according to store officials. It is a spot for sales associates and shoppers to talk about individual styles. The new concept also features larger groupings of mannequins to give shoppers more ideas for putting together outfits.
Both Loft stores at Columbiana Centre and Village at Sandhill in Northeast Richland will remain open, the company confirmed.
The Ann Taylor store, which will be new to the Columbia area, is the brand’s newest concept.
A spokeswoman for Ann Taylor originally confirmed last week the store would be opening later this year in Trenholm Plaza. But she later said that information was wrong, and the store actually was planned for Columbiana Centre.
The boutique-style store, at about 3,500 square feet, will feature on-staff stylists available for walk-in customers and by appointment.
The boutique’s design – featuring whitewashed maple floors, crystal chandeliers and modern furniture -- was inspired by a stylish, contemporary home and is designed to provide a more intimate shopping experience, the company says. It will feature “wardrobe niches” that will allow for a broad assortment of products and an oversized touch-screen monitor in a private lounge, providing access to anntaylor.com for online shopping in the store.
Meanwhile, the Edens development company Wednesday announced two more store openings in Trenholm Plaza:
• Café Caturra – a café/wine bar concept -- is opening this month.
• Soma Intimates, a division of White House/Black Market, will open its first and only boutique-style store in the Columbia market in April.
Columbia-based Edens – a major developer and manager of East Coast shopping centers, formerly known as Edens & Avant – has been renovating Trenholm Plaza over the past few years, attracting such tenants as Chipotle Mexican Grill, Jos. A. Banks, MACK Home, Urban Nirvana and Rosso Trattoria Italia restaurant.