Luxury department store chain Neiman Marcus on Friday finally opened its first store on Long Island.
Dozens of people lined up outside minutes before the opening of the 106,000-square-foot, two-floor store at Roosevelt Field mall on Friday morning. Shoppers streamed in through the store’s five entrances, where they were greeted with claps from store associates.
“It’s amazing,” said Doris Wilshere, vice president and general manager of Neiman Marcus at Roosevelt Field, adding she grew up in Commack and lives in Manhasset. “Long Island has waited 16 years for Neiman to open. . . . They are as passionate about retail as we are.”
The Neiman Marcus store is the capstone of a $200 million expansion and renovation of the Garden City mall begun 2 1⁄2 years ago by mall owner Simon Property Group of Indianapolis. The store is located at the end of Roosevelt Field’s new luxury wing, which houses more than 20 high-end stores including Tory Burch and Kate Spade New York. There are still three vacancies.
The three-level Roosevelt Field is the largest enclosed mall on Long Island, encompassing 2.2 million square feet with more than 270 stores. Its stores attract an estimated 22 million shopper visits a year. The average household income for Roosevelt Field shoppers is $113,486 annually with a median age of 41.3, according to Simon. The national median household income is $53,046, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.
“The full renovation of the mall gave us an opportunity to come into this market in the right way,” Neiman Marcus spokeswoman Mimi Sterling said. “We knew it was the right time.”
For more than a decade, Dallas-based Neiman Marcus has been trying to open a store on the Island. At one point, the luxury retailer was the potential anchor tenant for a plan to build an upscale mall on the 39-acre former Cerro Wire property in Syosset, but pulled out after delays caused by community and environmental concerns. After a nearly two-decade struggle to build the mall, the plan was eventually scrapped by Michigan-based developer Taubman Centers, which sold the land for $230 million to rival Simon in 2014.
That property is now part of a plan by Simon, along with partners Castagna Realty Co. of Manhasset and the Albanese Organization of Garden City, to build a mixed-use development with 600 residential units and 650,000 square feet of commercial space.
The Long Island store, smaller than the average for Neiman Marcus, is the company’s 42nd store and its first new location since 2012. The retailer’s closest store is in White Plains.
“I’m so excited,” said Marie Vallario of Commack, a retired accountant who was browsing through Balenciaga purses. “It’s beautiful. I’ve been waiting for 15 years.”
The store features 37 works by local artists, spa rooms, valet parking, Wi-Fi, phone charging stations and memory mirrors, which allow customers to see their outfits in a 360-degree view and compare clothing options side by side.
All sales associates carry iPhones, allowing them to show customers what merchandise is available at the store. The store carries brands like Fendi, Givenchy, Jimmy Choo, Saint Laurent and Tom Ford.
“I wanted to see what they had to offer and what I could not afford,” Johnny Bell, owner of J+G Accessories jewelry store in Brooklyn, said with a smile. “The staff is warm and very helpful.”
Neiman Marcus, whose comparable sales fell 5.6 percent in its most recent quarter, plans to open its first Manhattan store in 2018.