Bal Harbour Shops is holding the line.
The privately owned luxury center in north Miami has decided not to lay off or furlough any workers despite being closed due to the coronavirus.
Additionally, the center is not cutting anyone’s salaries, except for the ones held by those at “the ownership level.”
“Our family of employees, whose average tenure is over 15 years with some over four decades, is ultimately what makes us who we are and our commitment to them is steadfast. No one has been laid off, furloughed or even had their compensation reduced, except at the ownership level, and we aim to keep it that way,” Matthew Whitman Lazenby, president and chief executive officer of Bal Harbour Shops, writes in a letter being sent to shoppers and retail tenants on Friday, which WWD received in advance.
In addition, Bal Harbour Shops is donating 6,000 surgical masks to first responders and medical workers and has launched on its web site programming including “Inside the Designer’s Studio” profiling creatives and providing fashion news, and a virtual monthly book club with Books & Books. Also as part of the programming, Stephanie Sayfie Aagaard, who heads the center’s collaborative innovation team, will showcase art exhibitions, musical performances and educational outreach.
“Although Bal Harbour Shops remains temporarily closed, as we navigate this unprecedented public health crisis, my family’s deep commitment to the community of which we have been a part for 55 years remains stronger than ever,” the ceo wrote. “This is a time to come together and help one another. We are resilient and long-term focused and have faith that we will prevail and come back stronger than before.”
Bal Harbour Shops is regarded as one of the nation’s most productive shopping centers, having in some years hovered around $3,000 in sales per square foot. Anchored by Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus, Bal Harbour Shops is comprehensive collection of designer fashion and fine jewelry shops, its luxurious, tropical setting with palm trees, pools of koi fish, fountains and alfresco dining and community involvement. The center temporarily closed on March 19 though restaurants are providing takeouts and deliveries.