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Mashantucket — A new shopping experience awaits visitors to Foxwoods Resort Casino who linger near the Great Cedar Casino.
Gone are the multicolored facades of a typical New England village that had been a Foxwoods staple for nearly two decades. In their place is a more unified series of nine stores — in place of the dozen previously — that look like glass cubes with metal hinges.
“I love the tile floor; I love how bright it is,” said one shopper, Renea Fahnbullen of Bronx, N.Y., who took in the festivities Friday as Foxwoods celebrated the opening of its renovated shopping concourse, one of two major retail areas in the 7-million-square-foot casino.
Scott Butera, president and chief executive of Foxwoods, told a crowd of perhaps 200 at Friday’s ribbon cutting that he was surprised by the lack of shopping options at the casino when he came onboard four years ago.
He added in an interview with reporters later that he found the shopping “pretty pedestrian” when he first arrived and believed the concourse makeover has been successful in developing a range of “terrific boutique shops” that would mesh nicely with the $115 million Tanger Outlets development that Foxwoods expects to open in May.
“It’s important we offer more nongaming options to customers,” he said.
The retail stores, ranging in size from 500 to 2,500 square feet, include Kidstuff, where shoppers can peruse an assortment of baby clothes and hand puppets; Panache, where floppy hats and frilly scarves predominate; Scenses, which combines a range of products offered by Yankee Candle, Crabtree & Evelyn and Vera Bradley; Activa, which has a line of activewear, and an adjoining store called Activa Kicks that features sneakers, and Folli Follie, decorated in a cool orange hue, that mirrors the women’s accessory items shoppers can find on Madison Avenue.
According to Annette DeBois, vice president of retail development and operations, these stores were chosen with a lower price point in mind, in keeping with the daytrippers who typically are attracted to the Great Cedar Casino, where many of the lower-bet games are located.
Rodney Butler, chairman of the Mashantucket Tribal Nation, said the 150-yard-long retail concourse fits in with Foxwoods’ strategy of developing projects that add to the casino’s resort atmosphere.
“Gaming is everywhere,” he said. “What’s going to differentiate yourself?”
What: Great Cedar Casino shopping concourse
Where: Foxwoods Resort Casino
Number of stores: 9
Size of stores: 500 to 2,500 square feet
Cost of project: $15 million, including the food area
General contractor: A/Z Corp. of North Stonington