Sephora's Friday grand opening is final piece of JCPenney makeover

Columbus store has added several lines, changed its overall look over last two years

tadams@ledger-enquirer.comMay 1, 2014 

With Friday’s grand opening of the Sephora inside JCPenney, the department store at Peachtree Mall is putting the crowning jewel on a more than two-year-old renovation and rollout of new brands.

Asked Wednesday if that completes the project that added several lines, including Liz Claiborne and Canadian fashion brand, Joe Fresh, along with a revamped home store last year, JCPenney store manager Bryan Cook crossed fingers on both hands and smiled.

“The remodeling of the store worked out real well, and it’s a good fit,” Cook said of Sephora. “I think it’s going to bring a lot of traffic into the store that we’ve not had before.”

Cook, who has managed the Columbus store for seven years — surviving the Great Recession and the persistent renovation — now has what is considered a beauty product star on his hands.

The 2,200-square-foot Sephora is situated prominently near JCPenney’s main interior entrance. It’s just behind and to the right of the jewelry counters, with prominent signage that beckons customers to Paris-based Sephora.

Founded in the French capital in 1970, Sephora began opening locations in JCPenney stores in 2006, with nearly 500 now up and running in the format. They typically are about 1,500 square feet, smaller than the chain’s normal stores in major cities, but still having what the retailer calls “the signature Sephora look and beauty offering.”

Although it had a soft opening last weekend, Sephora’s grand opening Friday will be the event to attend, said Nysia Sanabria, who goes by the title “beauty leader,” managing a staff of six.

The first 100 customers at the official opening will receive gift cards with “mystery values” up to $100. Another 750 gift bags with samples will be available.

Sephora offers nearly 50 brands of beauty products, including women’s and men’s fragrances, skin care, makeup, and bath and accessory items. There’s also a beauty studio to help customers decide what they need.

“We call our different departments our world,” said Sanabria, motioning around the store. “Our client is the center of our universe and these are our different worlds that we walk them around to.”

The new store brand could give the JCPenney-anchored wing of Peachtree Mall a lift, with a handful of tenants in the area departing over the last couple of years due to national decisions to close stores.

For Cook, Sephora certainly provides a lift and gives him confidence it will impact the rest of his department store. He showed his appreciation Wednesday; he was spotted personally cleaning Sephora’s in-store display windows.

“I think this is kind of the feather in our cap,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to it being a successful year here.”

Sephora, since it is inside JCPenney, will follow the same store hours, which are 10 a.m.-9 p.m. every day except Sunday. Hours that day are noon-6 p.m.

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