By  on July 9, 2007

ATLANTA — Paul Simon has opened a new Paul Simon Co. men’s store at The Village at SouthPark in Charlotte, N.C., that accentuates lighting and puts a heightened emphasis on sportswear.

The 4,000-square-foot store, which opened this spring, replaces a 3,000-square-foot store at nearby Morrocroft Village. Simon closed that store earlier this year. Paul Simon is one of the first stores to open in the new center, which is near the entrance (about a two-minute walk) of SouthPark Mall. The five-story, mixed-use building has retail, including Crate & Barrel, on the first level and high-end apartments above. Simon had a store at SouthPark Mall 10 years ago until he closed it and moved into Morrocroft Village. The store is freestanding and “has great parking,” Simon said.

“The most important thing we accomplished is really good lighting,” he said. The store has natural lighting provided by three large windows, incandescent spotlights, and fluorescent lights for ambient lighting. “It’s the best lighting we’ve ever had,” he said. “You can see the colors and patterns better.”

The store, created by Charlotte-based architect and interior design firm Fryday & Doyne, also has 17-foot-high ceilings, a special custom clothing area near a full window; a comfortable waiting area with flat-screen TVs, sofa and chairs, and wet bar, and fixturing that Simon describes as clean and simple with an art deco design. The flooring is a mix of carpet and Italian tile. Colors are understated to keep the store bright and airy. For the first time, Paul Simon has open neckwear cases.

Simon made a merchandising change, too, by adding 25 to 30 percent more sportswear, which he put in the front of the store. New brands include Etro, Lorenzini, Hugo Boss, Mountain Khakis, Vineyard Vines and Vilebrequin. He will add Italian tailored clothing brand Ravazzolo for fall. “It’s an eclectic mix because we get a lot of different people in,” he explained. “And, Crate & Barrel attracts a cross of people, young and old, in its store.” He adds that the Paul Simon store offers a range of price points, too. “We really want to capture the young guy who likes sportswear.”

He expects to have a grand opening in the fall. “After we’ve been in business for 31 years, we think we’ve got this one right,” he said.

Simon also has separate men’s and women’s stores at Myers Park Center in Charlotte.

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