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Wednesday, Sep 27, 2023

Giggles N’ Hugs Extends its Arms to West Valley

Giggles N’ Hugs Inc. has expanded its upscale version of Chuck E. Cheese to the San Fernando Valley. The restaurant – which offers parents everything from $15 New York steak salads to smoothies while kids play with story book castles and zip lines – opened at Westfield Topanga Shopping Mall in March. The 6,000-square-foot location is the second for the company, which currently only operates a flagship outlet at Westfield Century City Mall after previously closing a location in Brentwood. Chief Executive Joey Parsi said he expects the Valley location to be more successful than its Century City outlet given the local demographics: more mall patrons with families. “We assume that this location will do 20 to 30 percent more than Century City in sales,” he said. The company announced it would open the Topanga outlet a year ago, but was delayed by extensive reconstruction. Parsi said the site needed grease traps and a plumbing upgrade. It was previously the location of an arcade. Giggles N’ Hugs was founded in 2007 by Parsi, a former investment banker and stock broker, and his wife, Dorsa. The couple invested $700,000 with big plans to go nationwide. The company even went public in December 2011, but the stock fell quickly from almost $7 after the initial offering to $1 a year later. It currently trades over-the-counter for less than $1. Jerry Prendergast, principal of Culver City restaurant consultancy Prendergast & Associates, said that though there are no other concepts occupying what he called the “Upscale Chuck E. Cheese market,” he is skeptical about the chain. “There’s no competition, yes,” he said. “But there is reason for that. I don’t really know how they can generate enough revenue to warrant their investment. Mall rent isn’t cheap.” But Parsi said the company plans to open two more locations within the next year and is working on releasing a line of children’s clothing and merchandise. Online Polish Valley nail care company OPI Products Inc. of North Hollywood has authorized its first e-commerce account. ULTA.com will carry the entire OPI consumer product line, which includes more than 200 nail lacquer shades, nail treatments, lotions and some manicure/pedicure products. Certain OPI products, such as those for licensed professionals, will not be available. While it seems late for a major maker of consumer products to start selling online, Brad Masterson, spokesman for the Professional Beauty Association, said it’s common for beauty and cosmetic brands to be unavailable to the consumer directly. “Professional brands have always focused on distribution through professional channels,” he said. “They want to market themselves as from professionals to professionals.” ULTA Salon, Cosmetics & Fragrance Inc. of Bolingbrook, Ill., operates 550 retail stores across 45 states in addition to its e-commerce site. ULTA salons have been licensed to carry OPI products since 2000. OPI products can be found on other consumer websites, but the company considers that “diverted product,” because it was not obtained through authorized channels. “In choosing to begin e-commerce with ULTA.com, OPI will be able to maintain its professional standards,” said Suzi Weiss-Fischmann, co-founder and artistic director for OPI, in an e-mail. Masterson said ULTA offers a unique platform, as it’s a company that has professional-grade salons and both average consumers and professional beauticians ordering off its website. Space to Suit Northridge Suit Outlet has moved into a 7,000 square-foot location in the Galleria Market shopping center on Reseda Boulevard at the corner of Devonshire Street in Chatsworth. The outlet is more than double the combined size of the two previous locations run by Robert Kornalian in Northridge, and offers a complete line of suits, tuxedos, shirts, ties and accessories. Kornalian said the larger space allows him to carry more than 15,000 suits and he has been selling more than 3,000 suits a month since the store opened two months ago. That is triple the business he did at his previous locations. “I was expecting it to do well, but not this well,” he said. “The volume helps a lot.” Marshal Cohen, chief retail analyst for market research firm NPD Group Inc. of Port Washington, N.Y., said stand alone suit outlets are growing as an alternative to department stores. “The high-end is stable,” he said. “But growth in suits is coming from the mid-level and entry-level.” Kornalian said with sales rising quickly, thoughts of opening a second store are already on his radar. Staff Reporter Elliot Golan can be reached at (818) 316-3123 or egolan@sfvbj.com

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