Shopping Centers Today International

MAR 2016

Shopping Centers Today is the news magazine of the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC)

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N.Y.–based Greenberg Group. This real estate advisory firm has been work- ing with Muse Paintbar for about three years. "They make their space into what really looks and feels like an authentic artist's loft," said Gross. The decor typi- cally uses concrete floors, brick walls and exposed ceilings, he says. This design aesthetic influences site selection also, as Muse Paintbar typi- cally bypasses the staid office building or strip-mall location, says Gross. "You are going for a creative night out and an authentic artistic experience," he said. "It really matters where you are." Though Muse serves wine and beer and has its own menu of lighter fare, people often come here and then go out to dinner or for a drink elsewhere. The re- tailer therefore focuses on areas where there are additional restaurant and bar options. "We want to be part of a night out," he said. Muse Paintbar is part of a retail in- dustry trend that sees landlords incorpo- rating more entertainment and experi- ence-based tenants not replicable on the Internet. "It is one of our most popular destinations here," said Elizabeth Zig- mont, marketing director at Blue Back Square, a lifestyle center in West Hart- ford, Conn. People enjoy going to the Muse Paintbar for the painting events and to get together with friends, she says. "It is definitely a destination location, be- cause it is unique to the market here in West Hartford," she said. The Muse Paintbar painting sessions typically last two to three hours. Custom- ers sign up online at the company web- site, which discloses dates of availability and the painting subjects to be covered by location. These subjects include land- scapes, city skylines, animals and sail- boats, though Muse Paintbar also offers customized sessions — at which groups may choose what they prefer to paint. Individual sessions go for $35, which covers the cost of paint, canvas and apron. Children are welcome, though Muse Paintbar does book family nights and parties geared especially to children. Finch and his co-founder, Vanessa Leigh — who is also the chain's "lead artist" — at first confined the painting medium to acrylic on canvas, but this has since been expanded to include the decorating of wine glasses and vases, and such seasonal specialties as Halloween pumpkin art. The com- pany continues to explore other types of painting experiences. "We're not just thinking about growing stores," said Finch. "We are focused on creat- ing additional product types that are interesting for our customers." SCT r e T a i l i n g T o d a y M a r c h 2 0 1 6 / S C T 23

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