Friday, August 27, 2010

Sushi Dumpling House - new in my hood... what is this Sushi Dumpling House that is under construction in my 'hood?  And what does the "KB" stand for?  Well, I like sushi, and I like dumplings, so there's a reasonable chance that I would like this place, however it's in my neighborhood which gives it an automatic 50% chance of sucking.

When I moved into Grey Box this place was a Goat Meat store.  Then, ironically, it became MooShoes (vegan shoe store).  THEN it became the smaller takeout outpost of Tatany (sushi), which had been a good restaurant on Third Avenue, and is now some intolerable bar. 

Let us cross our fingers, shall we?

Thursday, August 26, 2010

WSJ: Marketers Try Interactive Mirrors, Discounts via Scanners

The Wall Street Journal
AUGUST 26, 2010
Luring Shoppers to Stores

Marketers Try Interactive Mirrors, Discounts via Scanners


It's Steven Spielberg's futuristic "Minority Report" come to life.

New technologies at the retail center at IPG's Media Lab.

Marketing companies are experimenting with a new wave of digital technologies to pitch to consumers while they shop: interactive dressing-room mirrors, kiosks with virtual customer-service representatives, and shopping carts and digital scanners that offer personalized discounts.

These futuristic technologies are among the interactive tools on display at Interpublic Group of Cos.' new retail center at the advertising company's Media Lab in Los Angeles.

There, Interpublic is testing innovative ways for marketers to connect with customers as part of an effort to better understand what makes consumers buy and to encourage companies to rethink their approaches to the role of the retail store.

Emily Steel discusses a new wave of digital technologies that pitch consumers while they shop.

Retailers are grappling with lackluster sales and consumers who are dissatisfied with the store experience as online shopping with its related interactivity becomes mainstream. Shopper satisfaction at retail stores is declining up to 15% a year, according to an ongoing IPG Media Lab study of more than 10,000 North American shoppers.

Online shopping gives buyers lots of information to guide their purchases. And consumers want detailed product data, reviews from previous buyers, related recipes for food products, health and nutrition information, and more, says John Ross, president of Shopper Sciences, which is part of IPG's Mediabrands unit.

"The role the store is playing is changing," says Mr. Ross, who was previously chief marketing officer at Home Depot. "Shoppers are walking up with a different set of expectations."

Some retailers have started testing basic versions of the new technologies. J. C. Penney has a "FindMore" fixture at select stores. The size of a door frame, it comes with a 52-inch touch screen that lets consumers see the retailer's full range of merchandise. Consumers can email data about an item to themselves or a friend or scan a bar code to learn more about a product and get recommendations, such as tops and accessories that match a pair of pants.

The Digits blog Stop & Shop Supermarket is testing handheld scanners in 289 stores that show customers personalized discounts as they shop. The offers are based on such factors as shopping history and just-purchased items. The scanner also lets consumers place deli orders and check out faster.

But IPG's retail lab offers a window into what the future could hold. Among the new technologies on display is a device that transforms the front window of a store into a giant touch screen. Instead of looking at a static mannequin, consumers can interact with the screen to select outfits for an avatar. Meanwhile, kiosks allow a customer to chat with a virtual sales associate who can provide advice on such topics as how to install a new flat-screen television.

Another device is a mirror that enables a shopper to scan a dress and then project that clothing onto her body before going to the dressing room. She can also tap the mirror to view different colors, find matching shoes and send the image to her Facebook profile.

Specialty retailer The Limited is considering installing interactive mirrors in some of its stores in the next six months, says Chief Executive Linda Heasley. The technology will help consumers match styles or even warn that two pieces of clothing don't match.

"It's like 'Mirror, Mirror, on the wall, what is the best outfit of all?'" she says.

At the same time, the price point of new technologies is dropping fast, allowing tools that were once considered space age and too expensive to be deployed at much lower costs, ad executives say.

Companies spent about $19.4 billion on in-store marketing in the U.S. last year, down about 10% from 2008, according to Veronis Suhler Stevenson Partners, a private-equity investment firm that produces forecasts for the communications industry. By 2011, when the economy is likely to have picked up again, the firm expects spending on in-store growth to accelerate.

Some of the most sophisticated in-store technology is tied to consumers' mobile devices, ad executives say. Marketers are experimenting with ways to use mobile phones to provide customers with services and promotions as they shop. These range from truck reviews at car dealerships to allergy information tied to certain foods at supermarkets, Mr. Ross says.

Dunkin' Donuts plans to test new mobile technologies in select markets in the next two weeks that will allow shops to send customized offers to customers.

Earlier this month, electronics retailer Best Buy announced plans to start an experiment at 257 of its stores involving a mobile application called Shopkick. Consumers who download it onto their mobile phones get rewards when they visit the store.

Write to Emily Steel at

Copyright 2009 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Don't look back at Barney's long lines - you may turn into a pillar of salt

Sharp hipbones swiveling for spots at the bench for shoe try-on. Come to the sale with padding. One hoarder had well over 100 pairs in a clear plastic bag. Turnout huge - all ages, all sizes, all boros, white hairs, flaming bottle reds. The unemployed, the good weather, the curious, consider The Barney's Warehouse Sale a free edition of the Fringe Festival. Look for markdowns of 25% off extra on blue marked shoes.

~brenner, nancy

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

If the black Prada suede slipper fits: Memorial Sloan Thrift Shop

Natty dressers - some of them pro-resellers, others, newbies - at the bag check (yes bag check!) at the Sloan-Kettering Thrift Shop, to peruse Pradas safely ensconced behind the counter. A shopping "show and tell" of sorts, since you have to ask the women staffing the sale for help, and then they will show.  If you don't mind a used Prada pair, you can score one for $95.  Costume jewelry collectors, who imparted the air of authority of the Antiques Road Show, came prepared with their own jewelry loupes to inspect the original offerings. You can find also anything from tea spoons, a J. Crew skirt for $25, cashmere sweaters, jackets with fur, a leopard cocktail clutch, etc. 

Today is the Fall kick-off.  
If you can't make it today, check 10 days from now when new stock will arrive, according to our source. 
1440 Third Ave. (81st - 82nd St.)
10a-5:30p today.

~nancy brenner

Monday, August 16, 2010

Glasshouse: selling vintage Blenko and Empoli glass since 1998

I acquired this Empoli Verde Vase at the Glasshouse showroom in the Village the other day.  I don't own any vases that didn't just come for free with an FTD flower arrangement, so when I saw this "leaning tower" I just had to have it.  However, it was just one amazing piece among a vast collection of colorful, top-quality, unique vintage pieces in the Glasshouse collection, curated by expert (and when I say EXPERT, I truly mean it) Damon Crain.  Probably more for the serious collector or interior decorator, but I would say that his pieces would also make a stellar wedding gift, or just gift to yourself - because you are THAT special (really, you are).  Pieces range from about $200-$3,500.  And while that might not sound like a bargain, most of them not only retain their value, but GROW in value.  So buy one and maybe in 80 years your great great grandkid will sell it on Pawn Stars or at least get a spot on Antiques Roadshow.

Details on pictured vase:
Tapered and curved cylindrical vase with two applied bands, circa 1920's. Measures 11.75 inches tall x 3.75 inches diameter.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Housing Works Gilt Groupe Sale

This was from yesterday, but let's just assume that it's still on today at the Housing Works on 9th Ave....
The big picture story is that Housing Works is having a summer clearance sale and there is a Gilt rack marked down at each store.  You could even say they are Gilty.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Report from the Freezer Section: The Skinny on Skinny Cows

Need a respite from shopping the Saks consolidation sale, Lord & Taylor coupon frenzy or peeking at Bergdorf full-priced Fall lines? Seek the Skinny Cow - calorie conscious confection seekers are storming freezer sections, even those with purist taste buds. The cow even helped boosted Nestle's bottom line according to today's earnings report. No surprise to those who have tasted the 100 calorie chocolate truffle drizzled with hardened chocolate ribbons - it is the Cadillac of this endearing line to which I am currently addicted.

They come in pops, cups, sandwiches and flavors including chocolate peanut butter, mint with fudge, vanilla with caramel to chocolate to strawberry, shortcake, Dulche de Leche and more. Flavors tend to differ by 'hood, so scout around or check out
Just try not to scarf down the 6 bar skinny box at once!

~Nancy Brennahhhhh

NOTE FROM GS: I second this emotion.

Monday, August 09, 2010

DSW: Doesn't Suck alWays

At first, I loved DSW.  But like all good things, that came to an end.  The quality of brands and styles plummeted swiftly; the service questionable.  But this is what happens when a discount outlet grows - there's no way to maintain such high and interesting levels of product and personnel.


I stopped in the Union Square outlet the other sweating hot day and managed to save $230, merely by spending $80 on this pair of kickin' boots from Biviel.  They came in both black and brown patent leather - I chose the brown since I have about 12 pairs of black boots.  And they simply screamed "FALL WEATHER" to me, something I am very much looking forward to right now. 

So between the sale price and my coupon, I scored large, and felt like it was 2006 all over again.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Jack's World: Discounters' Haven for Snazzy School Supplies

Many people spot the electric red neon sign and don't let this discount gem past their sniff test of "is this a place I want to be spotted in on Facebook and what would I possibly want in here?"

While there may be a watchdog security guard rather than an anonymous "Welcome to FILL IN THE BLANK CHAIN STORE/EMPORIUM," you will quickly grasp today's economic data demonstrating why discounters are posting the best results with 3.9% sales increases.

Check out the $19.99 leather attache case - perfect for your teenager - or for your job! Fashion bags for school are under $40 and they pop with personality. Butterfly notebooks and more for only 99 cents - you can't even get water at a mid-town newstand for less than a buck. Everything on your back-to-school list or back-to-work or back-to-job hunting needs are here. Maybe some snacks too.

Thank us later after you step inside this 45th Street store between Fifth and Sixth Avenues.

~nancy brenner

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

To Every Shoe, There is a "Silver Lining"

Brought to all the fine ladies of New York (and beyond) who can't bear not to be bare.  Do you wear your shoes without socks or stockings all summer long?  And as a result, do you sometimes have that "not so fresh" feeling?  Well, Silver Linings keep your feet feeling fresh and also help preserve your shoes to ensure additional milage.

Silver Linings are infused with Agion(R) antimicrobial, a silver-based technology that prevents growth and action of bacterial odor.  They cost $15.99 for three pairs, each lasting up to one month.

I have been trying them out and have to say they seem to work and have some impact on the freshness of my feet and shoes.  They are extremely thin and comfortable.  I'd say, worth giving them a shot.

And now that this post sounds entirely like a late-night infomercial, I will conclude with this: Best for flats and pumps.

Sunday, August 01, 2010


I had heard that T.G.I. Friday's had opened in the old Zen Palate space in Union Square, but frankly, dimissed it as ridiculous.  Well friends, it's true.  Times Square II: The Revenge. 
In other more promising news, Chock full o'Nuts is opening on 23rd St. in that old diner space between 5th & 6th Ave. - a little throwback action to the old Times Square (some of us) all remember fondly.