Ash­ley Ste­wart store opens in Hamp­ton

Daily Press - - Business - By Tara Boz­ick Staff writer

Ash­ley Ste­wart, a plus­size fash­ion re­tailer, cel­e­brated its store open­ing in Hamp­ton’s Penin­sula Town Cen­ter on Fri­day.

The Hamp­ton store is the sec­ond Ash­ley Ste­wart lo­ca­tion to open since the New Jer­sey-based com­pany ex­ited Chap­ter 11 bank­ruptcy pro­tec­tion in 2014.

“We know our cus­tomer is here,” said Pres­i­dent and Chief Mer­chant Of­fi­cer Kris­ten Gask­ins.

The Ash­ley Ste­wart brand is pop­u­lar among black women, who shop there be­cause of the re­tailer’s on-trend, af­ford­able styles. The 27-year-old com­pany op­er­ates 90 other U.S. stores.

CEO James Rhee helped turn the com­pany around by cul­ti­vat­ing Ash­ley Ste­wart as a life­style brand. The com­pany is ad­vo­cat­ing for and cel­e­brat­ing women, get­ting more in­volved with lo­cal com­mu­ni­ties and boost­ing its on­line pres­ence and e-com­merce busi­ness, ac­cord­ing to his Har­vard Busi­ness Re­view ar­ti­cle. The store of­fers multi­gen­er­a­tional ap­parel and ac­ces­sories for work, church or nights out.

The Hamp­ton store also pro­vides cus­tomers with a so­cial ex­pe­ri­ence, in­clud­ing of­fer­ing karaoke.

Reg­u­lar and long­time shop­per Alyta Mack stopped by Fri­day on her lunch break.

“As a plus-size woman, it’s re­ally had to find trendy clothes,” said Mack, who works in Hamp­ton and lives in Ch­e­sa­peake. “I’ll be here on the reg­u­lar.”

Ash­ley Ste­wart also has stores in Mil­i­tary Cir­cle in Nor­folk and Vic­tory Cross­ing in Portsmouth.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mon­day through Satur­day and noon to 7 p.m. Sun­day. Call the Hamp­ton store at 757-8383073.

Kroger opens in Suf­folk

Kroger Mid-At­lantic opened in Suf­folk at 1401 N. Main St. this past week — the fourth for­mer Farm Fresh store that Kroger opened.

The 57,000 square-foot Suf­folk store em­ploys 114 work­ers, in­clud­ing part­timers — 47 of them hired from Farm Fresh, ac­cord­ing to a news re­lease. Kroger in­vested $3.7 mil­lion in the Suf­folk store and is in­vest­ing more than $30 mil­lion to ren­o­vate for­mer Farm Fresh stores.

“For our res­i­dents who live down­town and in our cen­tral cor­ri­dor, the new store is a wel­come an­chor at Suf­folk Shop­ping Cen­ter," Suf­folk Mayor Linda T. John­son said.

The store will of­fer the gro­cer’s new Scan, Bag, Go tech­nol­ogy that en­ables shop­pers to scan their own gro­ceries. The store also of­fers Click­List, soon to be called Pickup, the gro­cer’s on­line order­ing ser­vice.

TARA BOZ­ICK/STAFF

Ash­ley Ste­wart, a plus-size fash­ion re­tailer, opened its store at 2561 McMe­namin St. in Hamp­ton’s Penin­sula Town Cen­ter. It’s the sec­ond lo­ca­tion to open since 2014.

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