Retail Therapy: Lululemon to open store in Clovis

March 30, 2013 

Lululemon Athletica is opening a store in Old Town Clovis, good news for loyal fans who love the $98 yoga pants.

The yoga-inspired athletic clothing company is opening what it calls a "showroom," a smaller version of its regular store -- its first in the San Joaquin Valley. It will open in the breezeway of the DeWitt Building at 453 Pollasky Ave., between California Hot Dogs and Robin's Nest Antiques. Opening day is scheduled for 10 a.m. April 12.

The Vancouver-based company didn't respond to multiple emails and phone calls, and the local workers aren't allowed to talk about the store. But the company's website does confirm the store and a sign is up and work is going on behind the papered-over doors.

You can track the store's progress on its Facebook page at facebook.com/lululemonfresno (it's considered the Fresno showroom even though it is in Clovis).

So why is this a big deal?

Some women are infatuated with the Lululemon brand and its sports bras, running pants and tank tops. The $68 price tag on a T-shirt doesn't faze customers who can afford the clothing.

Fans rave about the quality and fit, and the clothing colors and designs are modern and trendy.

To give you an idea of just how excited some people are about this store, I'll defer to the previous occupant of the space, 3 Oaks Studio owner Vicki Shoemaker, who said: "All I know is everybody is really excited. I hear screams -- screams of joy -- coming out of there and women are going 'Oh My God, I can't believe they're going to open.' " (Shoemaker's business has moved into a bigger location at 481 Pollasky, in the former Hearts Delight.)

Or, as the Gifted Typist blogger put it: "Lululemon: crack cocaine for the middle-aged woman?"

This all might be a bit eyebrow raising for the uninitiated. I called two city/retail professionals about Lululemon, who both said something along the lines of: "I don't know what that is, but it sounds delicious." No, it's not a yogurt shop.

Some people hadn't heard of Lululemon until its recent see-through pants issue. Headline writers had lots of fun after the company recalled black yoga pants made with a fabric called Luon that turned out to be "too sheer," as the company politely put it. And there was a second round of snickering last week when a Lululemon spokeswoman said women returning the pants did not have to put them on to "demonstrate the sheerness of their bottoms." The New York Post had reported some women were asked to do that in the story "$how us your asana!"

The columnist can be reached at (559) 441-6431, bclough@fresnobee.com or @BethanyClough on Twitter. Read her blog on fresnobeehive.com.

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