Change is in the works for Fashion Fair mall and Fig Garden Village in Fresno.
Fashion Fair is now home to one of only about a dozen Amazon stores in the country. The store at the main entrance to the mall near Starbucks is technically a kiosk, though it’s like walking into a room displaying all of Amazon’s gadgets.
Customers can play with Amazon’s Kindle and other e-readers, tablets and Amazon cell phones. They can also learn about the company’s streaming television service Fire TV and Echo, a “smart speaker” that can play music, turn lights off and read you the weather, news and audio books.
Amazon calls these pop-up stores (a term that usually means the store is temporary), though this one is a permanent fixture at the mall.
Never miss a local story.
Much like Barnes & Noble lets customers play with its NOOK e-readers in its stores, the Amazon pop-up store gives customers a chance to test-drive products they previously might have bought online without having laid hands on them.
Amazon’s other step into brick-and-mortar stores, Amazon Books, does not appear to be headed to Fresno anytime soon. Seattle, Manhattan, and soon, San Diego and Portland, have stores selling hardcover books and Amazon gadgets.
Fig Garden Village
A “concept design” document has been circulating among members of a Fig Garden email list that includes images of some potential changes to the center, including new stores and different exteriors such as awnings and new signs.
The document includes stores that aren’t in Fig Garden now, such as a store by high-end designer Kate Spade, women’s clothing store Madewell, footwear and clothing store Ariat and Soft Surroundings, a clothing, bedding and accessories store. Also in the document are Blue Mercury and L’Occitane en Provence, both of which sell skin and beauty products with Blue Mercury also offering spa services.
Now, a word of caution.
There’s no guarantee these stores will come or these changes will happen. When the stores were asked if they could confirm they were opening a Fresno location, all either said they had no plans to open a store in Fresno at this time or did not reply.
The document is part of the first baby steps a shopping center would take when contemplating changes. No applications for any permits have been filed, notes Jennifer Clark, the city of Fresno’s director of development and resource management.
“This is really early and sometimes developers don’t like that information out in the public,” she says.
A call to local Fig Garden Village executives was not returned and a representative from the public relations firm that represents the center owner declined to comment.
But, the documents with the potential changes are public information because they went before a city committee. The District 2 Plan Implementation Committee is made up of neighborhood residents who provide feedback – though have no real authority – to businesses and housing complexes planning changes in the area. The committee can pass along recommendations to agencies that do have authority.
Committee member Rosie Hendry says Fig Garden representatives have come before the committee three times with the discussion focusing on the facades the shopping center wants to change.
Hendry says some members and at least one representative of the Fig Garden Homeowners Association said the group wants to keep the exteriors they way they look now. The committee recommended the association and Fig Garden meet with each other and that the association also contact the Fresno County Historical Society about making it a historical site, which would put limitations on changes to the buildings, Hendry says. The center was founded in 1956.