New shopping and dining experiences are coming to Long Island malls this year. That includes Roosevelt Field in Uniondale, Walt Whitman Shops in Huntington Station and Smith Haven Mall in Lake Grove — and it’s a win-win. After all, you’re apt to want to grab a bite or a drink when you shop ’til you drop.
Sloane Grober plans to do precisely that when athleticwear specialist Alo Yoga opens in the first quarter of the year at Roosevelt Field. “I’ve been following their plans to open on Long Island,” says Grober, 34, a mom of three and a retail consultant who lives in Syosset.
“They’re always bringing out new products,” she says, adding that she now shops the brand online and in Manhattan. “Having a store locally, you actually can touch and feel the products, and try them on. It’s instant gratification, a complete experience.”
Industry figures show that consumers welcome that at brick-and-mortar stores. “E-commerce has grown enormously and, of course, got turbocharged during the pandemic. But physical retail still accounts for the vast majority of the business — more than 80%,” says Mark Cohen, director of retail studies at Columbia University in Manhattan. “Customers still want to touch, feel and experience.”
At Roosevelt Field, recent store openings include outerwear brand Rudsak, eyewear company Glasses USA and Freebird, known for handcrafted boots. New in the food and beverage department at the mall is Mrs. Fields/TCBY, serving chocolate chip cookies and frozen yogurt treats, and the still-to-come New York Fries slated to open this winter. At Walt Whitman Shops, new arrivals include Arhaus Furniture, Italian lingerie brand Intimissimi and Japanese casual wear company Uniqlo.
The ever-evolving menu of stores is part of the life cycle of shopping complexes. Malls are designed to be dynamic destinations. Adding new stores is a key to the way malls stay viable and vibrant. “A mall has to be a place that feels attractive, safe, updated, appealing and, for the most part, full,” says Cohen.
And it’s a symbiotic relationship. Customers come for a particular store, but end up shopping at others too. “That’s the whole basis of the mall experience,” says Cohen. “It’s a portal for something specific that enables you to consider all the other stores around it.”
Here’s a look at the buzziest openings for the new year. Price points vary in all of the newcomers arriving in 2024, so there’s something for everyone at each new location.
New stores at Roosevelt Field
Alo Yoga is all about elevated athleisure and mindful movement, drawing in fitness enthusiasts and style-conscious shoppers. Known for blending fashion with function, the brand features stylish and performance-driven apparel for yoga, fitness and everyday comfort. Popular items at the store, set to open March 30, include leggings (Grober swears by them), breathable tops and cozy outerwear.
The restaurant chain founded by Mark, Donnie and Paul Wahlberg has made a name thanks to gourmet burgers and comfort food. On the menu: signature burgers, sandwiches, entree salads and indulgent shakes. Opening in the first quarter of the year in the mall’s Dining District, it’s the first Wahlburgers in the New York market, following the 2020 closure of the chain’s Port Jefferson location.
Little Words Project
Known for personalized and empowering beaded friendship bracelets, Little Words Project fosters kindness, compassion and connection through meaningful words. “Fearless” and “Moon & back” are popular picks. Talk about statement jewelry: They’re designed to be worn as daily reminders that you can pass them along to BFFs. It’s slated to open in the first quarter of the year.
The Italian chocolatier is eyeing opening its inaugural Long Island location this spring. Whether you’re looking for a gift or craving some sweet self-indulgence, the brand’s scrumptious collection of bars, gift boxes, spreads and more will do the trick.
To play this tempting and challenging arcade game, step up to the machine and use your finesse to try to grab a prize — from cuddle toys to high-tech gizmos — in the claw. New York’s first location opens in the spring.
New at Walt Whitman Shops
Abercrombie & Fitch
Casual classics with a focus on youthful, laid-back styles is what you’ll find in the shop opening in the spring. After a major rebranding that embraces down-to-earth inclusion and diversity, A & got its groove back. Popular items include comfy and stylish hoodies, jeans, and graphic tees.
Jewelry that adds a contemporary and sophisticated touch of sparkle to every occasion is what the brand, expected in the second quarter of the year, is all about. Popular items in the store’s wide-ranging collection include delicate necklaces, bracelets and earrings.
New at Smith Haven Mall
The food court at the complex is expanding by a half-dozen dining destinations during 2024. New eateries in the diverse lineup of launches include Ford’s Garage (burgers and craft beer), Kong Dog (corn dogs), Black Pearl Bubble Tea, Kura Revolving Sushi Bar, New York Fries and K-Pot Korean BBQ.
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