The new Halls on Grand wants to be known as the place to go for style — regardless of price.
So customers entering the Crown Center store will find a $59 August Silk sweater near a $995 Moncler down jacket, a $98 Hobo handbag and a $2,200 Prada bag, and a $4 stack of “We need to talk” sticky notes just down the aisle from a $5,595 Brunello Cucinelli coat.
Halls on Grand had a soft opening earlier this week on the third floor of the shopping complex at 2450 Grand Blvd. It will officially open at noon Sunday.
“Halls is thought of as a special occasion store, but we want to be a store for everybody, every day. We want this to be a store that Kansas City can feel proud of,” said Kelly Cole, president of Halls.
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In June 2013, Halls announced a striking realignment — it would close its longtime Country Club Plaza store and consolidate it with a relocated and expanded Crown Center store. At the time, Cole said it no longer made economic sense to operate two Halls stores within about 20 blocks of each other.
The move marks the end of what was once a Plaza anchored by large, upscale traditional department stores. But the reopening at Crown Center also spotlights the resurgence of downtown Kansas City with the addition of Sprint Center, the Power & Light District, the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, and both Legoland Discovery Center and Sea Life Kansas City at Crown Center.
To make way for the new Halls on Grand, some third floor tenants of the Crown Center Shops moved to the second floor. Others closed or left for other malls. Halls, which is part of Kansas City-based Hallmark Cards Inc., spent the last six months converting the Crown Center space.
Among the new features:
▪ Designer brands exclusive to the market, including Oscar de la Renta, Jo Malone London, Gucci, Prada and Ermenegildo Zegna.
▪ An expanded shoe department with such brands as Kate Spade New York, Tory Burch, Jimmy Choo and Derek Lam.
▪ An expanded beauty department covering more than 5,000 square feet in the heart of the store. Brands include Bobbi Brown and Clinique.
▪ H Bar, an open area cafe and bar in “center court” near the escalators. Lunch will be served from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and include a soup of the day, Caesar salad and sandwiches such as the pork belly glazed bánh mì or whole roasted albacore tuna salad on croissant. Shared platters, available from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., will include charcuterie, a tapas display or a fruit plate. Desserts and pastries will be served from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. H Bar offers sparkling and white wine, red wine, cocktails, coffee drinks such as an H Bar blend by the Roasterie and hot teas.
▪ The enclosed walkway bridging Grand is now opened up with windows, allowing customers to view Crown Center Square and the downtown skyline. The 8,500-square-foot area is known as “The Bridge” and blends Halls’ men’s and women’s contemporary departments. It has an urban-industrial feel with its own sound system.
▪ Video screens throughout the store will show new products, coming events and even a short video of the construction of the new Halls on Grand from start to finish.
▪ Mobile point-of-sale systems, so transactions can be processed throughout the store.
▪ Spacious fitting rooms with “residential-inspired foyers” and designer wall coverings.
▪ Wider parking spaces in the third floor garage, and valet service at the American Restaurant.
The new 60,000-square-foot store was designed by noteworthy retail architects Charles Sparks + Co. and shows pieces from the Hallmark Art Collection.
The hours for the new Halls on Grand will be 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. Sunday.
Halls had operated out of several downtown locations for 50 years before opening the Plaza store in 1965 and the Crown Center store in 1973. The Plaza store closed in August.
The former Halls Plaza building will be converted to Plaza 211, which could have six to eight retailers — mostly exclusive tenants to the Plaza — as well as one or two restaurants. A September 2015 opening is scheduled.
To herald the opening of the new Halls on Grand, Scott Heffley, senior conservator of painting at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, has an installation in the department store called Magic, Imagination and Old Stuff.
Heffley focuses on items that excited consumers in past decades — from Dalmatian statues, to vintage TV sets, Art Deco fans, and a collection of makeup mirrors.