Westfield Hawthorn adds new stores for new image
Mariya Martsvalova, a retail advisor at Aveda in Westfield Hawthorn Mall, stocks shelves with hair care products. Aveda is one of several new stores that fit Westfield's future image. | Michael Schmidt~Sun-Times Media
Updated: February 20, 2013 5:45PM
VERNON HILLS — Officials at Westfield Hawthorn Mall said this winter they want to create a shopping experience that customers can’t get online.
To make this happen, the mall is opening a slate of new niche stores that offer special services and merchandise offered only in person.
That transformation started when clothing and jewelry store Francesca’s Collections opened in July, Aveda, a hair care retailer, opened in November. And this week, cosmetics retailer Sephora opens Friday.
While presenting renovation designs to Vernon Hills officials last month, Westfield executives said the mall needs more than merchandise — customers need an experience, too.
These newest lifestyle shops will supplement two new restaurants currently under construction, as well as a possible movie theater and proposed Dave & Busters — though the latter two have still not finalized leases to join the mall.
Aveda replaces Kay Jewelers, which relocated within the mall, while Sephora takes over the Pegasus Gallery on the lower level.
“Sephora is a great compliment to Victoria’s Secret, New York & Company and Banana Republic,” said Hawthorn spokesman Jeff Rutzen. “We timed it right and now there’s a great flow to that part of the mall.”
The new 3,800 square-foot Sephora offers more than 200 cosmetic brands and encourages customers to sample many of the products before purchasing — a benefit not available to online shoppers.
Sephora is also opening a beauty studio inside the store, where customers can book 60-minute, one-on-one sessions with beauty experts and even create personalized makeup packages.
Aveda’s 900 square-foot store offers similar services that focus primarily on hair care. Customers who sign up for consultation this Friday through Sunday get sample products while learning about nutrition and how stress impacts hair loss.
Aveda offers other monthly programs on a variety of topics.
While exploring an approach to encourage shoppers go offline and visit Hawthorn, Rutzen said Westfield initiated market research in 2011. Sephora surfaced on a list of top 10 desired entertainment, dinning or fashion retailers, he added.
Hawthorn Mall is not the only Westfield mall to have Sephora and Aveda stores, but they are an rarer find. Of 47 Westfield-owned malls throughout the country, 19 have a Sephora and 12 have an Aveda.
Westfield Old Orchard Mall in Skokie happens have both, but Rutzen said Skokie is far enough from Vernon Hills to not pose a threat to Hawthorn.
In addition, to drive traffic into the Hawthorn, Rutzen said Aveda bought billboard and radio advertisements.
The experiences Westfield wants to sell span across demographics. After these fashion and beauty retailers settle in, venues targeted at primarily male and teenage demographics are next.
All Stars on Board, a sports bar and restaurant, will soon replace the former McCarthy’s Restaurant & Irish Pub that closed this summer. A replacement for Ruby Tuesday has not been disclosed yet.
Rutzen said both the movie theater and Dave & Busters would have wide-ranging appeal if they join Hawthorn, especially since they would be open late and offering alcohol.
Neither venue would be open until late 2014, but the mall’s image will continue to change leading up to their openings, Rutzen added.