Byline: Rosemary Feitelberg

Looks like Tommy Bahama’s finally heading north for the winter.
After months of scouting potential sites above the Mason-Dixon line, the 11-unit retailer of resort-friendly designs has landed a store in The Shops in North Bridge, a 386,000-square-foot shopping complex on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. Opening day for the 4,000-square-foot store is set for next month.
Tommy Bahama has made a “six-digit investment” in the new site, according to Tony Margolis, partner and president. “This is a major measuring stick. If this works, it will be a clear sign to pursue other things in northern cities,” he said. “Most of our locations are in vacation-type places; this is the first time we will be in an urban environment.”
The brand typically caters to people between the ages of 35 and 65, with stores in Naples, Fla., La Jolla and Newport Beach, Calif., among other places. The Chicago location will offer women’s and men’s apparel, as well as home accessories such as pillow shams, lamps and table tops.
But make no mistake: The company’s signature island-inspired florals will be out in force, bringing a bit of the Sun Belt to Michigan Avenue.
“Our stores are just as much about the experience as the merchandise,” Margolis said. “But with our wholesale business, we have just as many customers in the North as we do in the South. The reality is that Tommy Bahama product sells well in Chicago.”
With retail prices ranging from $50 to $95, silk knit tops with coordinating above-the-knee skirts and printed silk separates are expected to be bestsellers at the new store, Margolis said.
Tommy Bahama plans to open stores in Scottsdale, Ariz., and Maui, Hawaii, in November and December, respectively. Three or four other sites, including one in West Palm Beach, are slated to bow in the first quarter of next year, Margolis said.