Now even the well-to-do residents of Beverly Hills are feeling the economic pinch. The proof is that the glitziest avenue, Rodeo Drive, may soon be graced by the presence of a 99 Cents Only Store, and some residents aren’t unhappy about it.
Rodeo Drive is famous for stores such as Versace, Armani, Chanel and Tiffany & Co.
But the 99 Cents Only Stores chain has announced that it’s looking for space among the tony outlets. Eric Schiffer, the chain’s CEO, said,
We think our store will do well. Our highest amounts of sales are happening in our branch on Wilshire Boulevard. We know for a fact a lot of customers there are coming from Beverly Hills. This store will be here to stay. The major reason for its success will be the challenging economy which came as the final impetus to open the store. We’ve had many success stories that are similar to this scenario. After we opened our store in West Hollywood on West Lincoln Boulevard, a Whole Foods came right next to us. As soon as it did, our business went up dramatically.
Beverly Hills resident Ann Garry, who has lived in the ritzy burg since 1977, was excited:
Oh my God! How will it work in the middle of all the fancy-shmantsy? If there’s a 99 Cent Only Store on Rodeo Drive, I will definitely shop there. I wouldn’t dream of shopping on Rodeo Drive. Instead of just looking at the windows I can now shop there.
But Mikael Choukroun, manager of 208 Rodeo restaurant located on the Rodeo Drive, wasn’t happy:
Hearing news of The 99 Cents Store opening is very disappointing. I worked for 20 years at Les Champs Elysees [in Paris] and I have seen what such stores have done to it. After McDonalds and similar places opened many of the high-end brands left Les Champs Elysees and it’s now full of cheap stores. I can see this happening to Rodeo Drive if they start opening such stores.
Schiffer feels that he’s doing the other stores a favor:
We’re hoping to find a landlord who will understand that with opening such a store we will increase traffic on Rodeo Drive, which has been slow due to the bad economy. By putting our news release out on Tuesday we hope to attract the interest of landlords and perhaps cut the middle-man process, and by that, cut some extra costs. Shops on Rodeo make most of their sales from tourists. When tourists get their basic needs from our store, as opposed to paying a lot more for the same items at their hotels, they will have saved enough to shop on Rodeo.