BOLD, which stands for Beverly Hills Open Later Days, is a temporary initiative kicking off Thursday that keeps nearly 90 retailers in the city open until 8 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays in August. Businesses in the area are typically open until about 6 p.m. BOLD will also bring in-store events and sidewalk art. Participating restaurants will provide shoppers who have made purchases after 6 p.m. with, for example, free appetizers or a glass of wine.
BOLD marks the first time a citywide program is being rolled out to lengthen guest stays in the area with retailers such as Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Dolce & Gabbana and Burberry among the businesses that have agreed to keep their doors open later. City officials will test the program to see how it works with the hope of potentially making extended hours more permanent if successful.
“One of the main things that our organization has really been actively looking at is how do we keep Beverly Hills relevant,” said Beverly Hills Conference & Visitors Bureau chief executive Julie Wagner. “We don’t want to end up falling out. We need to make sure we keep things fresh here. There’s a lot going on on our borders. There’s [redevelopment at] Westfield Century City, the Beverly Center [and] what’s been happening for years with The Grove. I think ultimately what we’d like to see is the stores open late year round but part of that is the stores want to see results from their efforts.”
Both Westfield Century City and Beverly Center are undergoing major construction projects to make their own centers more attractive to locals and other visitors. Taubman Centers expects to spend about $500 million on the renovation of its Beverly Center. Westfield is shelling out about $1 billion on the makeover of its Century City property and earlier this year revealed the project’s first phase.
Shopping and dining streets such as Rodeo, Beverly and Canon along with Brighton Way in the city of Beverly Hills weren’t impacted when Westfield Century City’s first phase bowed, Wagner said.
“Retail is a really tough environment right now and I think everybody’s trying to think outside of the box,” Wagner said. “Some people have more money to throw at things than other people do, but so far things have been pretty status quo [locally]. We have seen a huge shift in our business mix. Our international traffic used to be primarily what we saw and now we’re pretty much 50-50 domestic and international. Online shopping has really changed the face of the retail experience and retailers and the shopping areas need to think about what they can program to drive people to come and experience them.”
The Visitors Bureau hopes to roll out another program for the holidays that would also liven up the streets and keep people there into the later hours. That initiative is expected to go before the City Council Wednesday for consideration.
“We’ve been talking to the stores to stay open late for years. I think everybody’s on board and I’m really hoping to see Beverly Hills just grow and expand and become that much more,” Wagner said. “L.A. is seeing a really good moment right now. People are excited about it and we’d like to be a part of that.”
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