Lululemon will stretch its legs in the Columbia market with a temporary showroom store this fall, most likely on Devine Street.
A lease for a specific location had not been signed as of Friday, company spokeswoman Carolyn Manning said. But the Vancouver, Canada,-based yoga and exercise-clothing company is within days of signing a lease and wants to test its brand here over the next year, she said.
“We generally open a showroom to see whether or not a community likes the product,” Manning said.
Lululemon has a showroom store in Greenville and a permanent store in Charleston that opened last summer.
The Columbia outlet would be open three days a week, usually on a Thursday-through-Saturday schedule.
The rest of the week, employees will be out in the community in yoga studios, gyms and fitness classes, getting to know the local scene and people, Manning said, and seeing “if the product is something that Columbia’s interested in.”
Opening a showroom store first to test out the market is typical for the company, she said, adding the store could become permanent in less than a year’s time if the market responds well and the company finds an ideal location.
The location the store is eyeing is rumored to be in the 2300 block of Devine Street, close to Five Points and within about five miles of a dozen or so yoga studios.
Lululemon gained unwanted media attention earlier this year when consumers began to realize that its popular black yoga pants were see-through – not what you want in yoga’s downward dog position. The company scrambled to pull the pants from shelves and replace them with more modest offerings, rebounding quickly. However, its chief executive resigned this week.
The company sells more than just yoga-wear, Manning said.
Its products, which include lines for women and men, are made out of “yoga-inspired” fabric that has a lot of stretch and is versatile for athletes, she said. Many of the products can be worn for running and cross-fit training, as well as yoga and Pilates, she said.
“You’re making an investment in your workout gear, but you can wear it to so many different things,” Manning said.