West Palm Beach’s Shoppe 561 bringing its wares to Boca

West Palm Beach-based Shoppe 561 will open a one day only pop-up shop on Saturday at the Town Center mall in Boca Raton.

staff illustration by REBECCA VAUGHAN
staff illustration by REBECCA VAUGHAN

The shop will be open from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Athleta in the mall.

During the event, Shoppe 561 will be donating 10 percent of its sales for the day directly to Place of Hope at the Leighan and David Rinker Campus, an organization dedicated to providing a stable and loving family environment for children, teens and young adults who have aged out of foster care.

Shoppe 561 offers a variety of products made by more than 70 artisans and artists from Florida. The shop also offers craft classes for adults and children.


Easter-related spending expected to reach record levels

Shoppers are expected to spend a record-breaking $17.3 billion on Easter-related supplies this year, according to the National Retail Federation.

Those celebrating the holiday plan to spend an average of $146, an increase of 3.8 percent over last year’s $140.62, according to the trade group’s annual Easter Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics.

Photo by drewfer.
Photo by drewfer.
“Retailers are beginning one of their busiest times of year and are more than ready as consumers shop for spring essentials,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “Shoppers will find promotions on a number of items on their lists, from Easter baskets to sports equipment, home goods, garden tools and more.”
According to the survey, shoppers are expected to spend $5.5 billion on food, $3 billion on clothing, $2.7 billion on gifts, $2.4 billion on candy and $1.2 billion on flowers.

“This time of year means the arrival of good weather and good moods across Florida as consumers buy gifts, food and decorations to celebrate Easter with family and friends,” said Randy Miller, President & CEO of the Florida Retail Federation, the state’s retail trade group. “People also use this weekend to purchase supplies and essentials for the spring season, meaning increased sales for retailers.”

Trade group seeking nominations for ‘Retailer of the Year’ award

The Florida Retail Federation, the state’s retail trade group, is accepting nominations for its annual “Retailer of the Year” award.

The deadline to submit nominations is today.

staff illustration by REBECCA VAUGHAN
staff illustration by REBECCA VAUGHAN

The award recognizes the state’s top retailer for “sound business practices and commitment to their employees, customers and communities,” the federation said.

“Florida’s retail industry plays such an important role in the success of our state, and we are excited to shine the spotlight on those retailers who contribute to that success while also supporting their local community,” said FRF President/CEO Randy Miller. “We ask consumers of these retailers to support their favorite businesses by nominating them for this prestigious award.”

Businesses eligible to receive the awards are those whose annual sales total $5 million or less and have a physical presence in the operation and/or management of the retail business, the federation said.

To nominate a retailer, visit FRF.org.

More shoppers are trying subscription box sites

Subscription box sites like Birchbox and Dollar Shave Club are rapidly growing in popularity, according to Hitwise, a division of Connexity, a company that provides marketers information about online behavior.


Visits to subscription box sites have grown by nearly 3,000 percent over the past three years, according to a study released this week by Hitwise. There were more than 21.4 million visits in January 2016, compared to just 722,000 in 2013, the study found.

“While the subscription shopping category is still a niche market, with total monthly visits just a third of one percent of what the top retailers receive, these sites appeal to a critically important segment of consumers, ages 25-34 who are entering the prime of their earning and spending years which should sustain continued growth in the category,” says John Fetto, senior analyst, Hitwise. “Traditional retailers should—and some already are—take note of the success that start-ups in this industry have enjoyed and determine if a subscription model would be a smart extension to their existing product line up.”

Subscription box shoppers tend to have above average income and education levels, fall predominantly into the 25 to 39 year-old age bracket and skew more heavily female than the average online shopper, the study found. They tend to live in multicultural urban neighborhoods in larger cities or the surrounding suburbs, the study found.

“Subscription box shoppers are primarily comprised of older Millennials and younger Gen Xers who have reached a stage in their lives where they’re more established, have higher disposable incomes and have found online and mobile shopping to be increasingly easy and more convenient, enjoyable and cost effective than shopping in physical stores,” Fetto said. “Because even with their rising affluence, this audience still loves a good deal.”

Could Florida’s sales tax holidays be in jeopardy?

The Florida Retail Federation on Tuesday urged state lawmakers to extend a series of sales tax holidays, saying the tax breaks are not only popular with shoppers, but also spur spending and boost the economy.

Laura Palacio, 13, of West Palm Beach, tries on a backpack that she likes with her sister Mayra Palacio, at the Target on Palm Beach Lakes Blvd., July 30, 2014, in West Palm Beach. Laura chose the back to school supplies that she needs for the upcoming year and plans to come back and buy them when the tax free holiday begins Friday. (Greg Lovett / The Palm Beach Post)
Laura Palacio, 13, of West Palm Beach, tries on a backpack that she likes with her sister Mayra Palacio, at the Target on Palm Beach Lakes Blvd., July 30, 2014, in West Palm Beach. Laura chose the back to school supplies that she needs for the upcoming year and plans to come back and buy them when the tax free holiday begins Friday. (Greg Lovett / The Palm Beach Post)

The federation said a strike all amendment filed in the Senate would remove all sales tax holidays — including breaks for back-to-school shopping, hurricane preparedness, and energy-efficient appliances — from the House tax package (HB 7099). The Senate was slated to hear the strike all amendment on Tuesday but temporarily postponed the discussion, the federation said in a news release.

“For almost 20 years, Florida families have relied on these sales tax holidays as a way to provide for and protect their loved ones, and we’re concerned that removing them from the House tax package means consumers won’t be able to experience this important tax relief,” said FRF President/CEO Randy Miller. “If the Senate ultimately decides to keep these holidays out of the House bill, then we encourage them to pass the individual bills for these important sales tax holidays including Back-to-School, Disaster Preparedness and Energy Star.”

The Senate could also consider the Back-to-School (SB 198), Disaster Preparedness (SB 608) and Energy-Star (SB 870) sales tax holidays as standalone bills, the federation said. However, none of the legislation has been considered by the senate’s Committee on Appropriations, a move that must happen before it can be sent to the senate floor, the federation said.

The federation said consumers have come to rely on the sales tax holidays. Retail experts argue that shoppers prefer salestax holidays over sales and discounts offered by individual retailers.

The tax break also boosts wages for retail employees, the federation said.

“In general, retailers say they get an average increase of between 30 and 40 percent in store traffic over the weekend because of the sales tax holiday,” the federation said.

Delray Beach store to donate portion of sales to Autism Speaks

Charming Charlie, a women’s jewelry and accessory retailer,  will donated a portion of the proceeds from sales at its Delray Marketplace on Sunday to Autism Speaks.

072411 (Bruce R. Bennett/The Palm Beach Post) - WELLINGTON -  The interior of Charming Charlie in the Mall at Wellington Green.
072411 (Bruce R. Bennett/The Palm Beach Post) – WELLINGTON – The interior of Charming Charlie in the Mall at Wellington Green.

The company said the 10 percent of the store’s proceeds from sales between 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. will be donated to the Palm Beach chapter of Autism Speaks. Shoppers must mention Autism Speaks during check out.

The store is located at 9195 W Atlantic Ave in Delray Beach.


Top things people hate about mobile shopping

If you shop with your smart phone, chances are you’ve run into problems placing an order online.

Misclicks, slow-loading websites and small images and text make mobile shopping a challenge, according to a survey conducted by Bizrate Insights, a division of Connexity.

  (Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)
(Photo by David Ryder/Getty Images)

Bizrate surveyed more than 100,000 shoppers last year and complied this list of their 8 biggest complaints about shopping on mobile devices:

Too much pinching, zooming and misclicks

The number one mobile pain point that one-third of all online shoppers cited was the need to constantly enlarge their screen in order to click the right thing.

Mobile experiences that require a lot of zooming not only frustrate people, they tend to cause a lot of “misclicks” which send the user to a new page unintentionally. This can lead to a frustrating experience, wasted loading time and a higher bounce rate.

Slow load time

The only thing slower than mobile load times is the e-commerce response to the problem; “slow mobile loading” is bemoaned so often that some brands accept it as inevitable.

Inconsistent Product Availability

The mobile and desktop shopping experience are bound to look different on the surface, but shoppers hate it when they are fundamentally different.

Text is too small to read

This problem is widely known, but it remains a persistent complaint by mobile shoppers… clearly there is a gap between what retailers assume is “readable,” and what shoppers can tolerate.

Don’t make me type!


Screens have gotten larger, but mobile shoppers still don’t like typing on their mobile phones—and let’s be honest, they probably never will.

Images are too small


Great mobile shopping experiences require a delicate balance; space is extremely limited, but content must be large enough to read.

E-tailers must be more thoughtful in their mobile content prioritization, and the number one priority on their list should always be images. Product images are the bread and butter of an e-Commerce business, and in mobile they are even more crucial. Mobile shoppers don’t want to type and click, they want to seamlessly browse through visuals and inspiration.

Limited product information

Mobile shoppers who are seriously considering a purchase want the same amount of product info as they would on desktop.

Data security concerns

In the wake of so many public data breaches, consumer concerns over data security remain alive and well. Bizrate Insights found that nearly 2/3 of American shoppers don’t trust retailers with their payment and personal information.

Be prepared to spend more on Valentine’s Day

The average shopper is expected to spend nearly $147 on Valentine’s Day this year, up roughly 3 percent from 2015, according to Florida Retail Federation.

Nationally, Valentine’s Day spending is expected to total nearly $20 billion, retail leaders said.

Hoffman's 5 piece truffle
Hoffman’s 5 piece truffle

The top gift this year – candy. Roughly 50 percent of shoppers said they planned to buy sweets for their sweetheart, spending a total of $1.7 billion, according to the Florida organization’s partners at the National Retail Federation.

“Valentine’s Day continues to play a significant role in the bottom line for Florida retailers, as consumers buy gifts to show their affection for their loved ones,” Florida Retail Federation President/CEO Randy Miller said. “With an improving Florida economy combined with low gas prices, and great deals on popular merchandise and meals, we expect retailers and consumers to love this year’s Valentine’s Day shopping season.”

Roughly $4.4 billion will be spent on necklaces, earrings and other jewelry items, according to the national federation’s survey, which was conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics.

Another $1.1 billion will be spent on greeting cards.  Nearly half of those celebrating (47.9 percent) are expected to purchase a greeting card this year, the survey found.

The national federation expects shoppers will spend $1.9 billion on roses and bouquets.

And don’t forget your pets. According to the survey, shoppers are expected to spend $681 million to get their pets a Valentine’s Day treat.

Super Bowl fans to spend more on parties, gear this year

If you are having a Super Bowl party this year, you are probably going to spend a little more on food, supplies, and team gear.

CULVER CITY, CA - SEPTEMBER 09: The Super Bowl trophy on display during the NFL Media Event, the day before Kickoff to the 2015 Season on September 9, 2015 in Culver City, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)
CULVER CITY, CA – SEPTEMBER 09: The Super Bowl trophy on display during the NFL Media Event, the day before Kickoff to the 2015 Season on September 9, 2015 in Culver City, California. (Photo by Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images)

According to the National Retail Federation, football fans are expected to spend slightly more than they did for the Super Bowl in 2015.

Viewers and partygoers will spend an average of $82.19 on food, décor, team apparel and more, up from $77.88 last year, according to the federation’s Super Bowl Spending Survey conducted by Prosper Insights and Analytics.

» RELATED: 5 best sports bars in Palm Beach County to watch Super Bowl 50

Total Super Bowl-related spending is expected to top $15.5 billion.

“Two great teams going head-to-head and a historic game celebrating the 50th Super Bowl could make this one of the most-celebrated football games we’ve seen in some time,” NRF President and CEO Matthew Shay said. “We expect retailers will be aggressive with promotions on food and decorations as well as athletic wear and electronics in the coming days as they look to entice those planning to watch the Super Bowl.”

An estimated 188.9 million football fans plan to watch the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers battle it out for the Super Bowl 50 championship title on Sunday, up from the estimated 183.7 million who planned to watch last year, the federation said.

“The excitement around the Super Bowl this year should help retailers and restaurants kick off 2016 on a positive track,” Shay said.

Of those watching the game, the federation’s survey found:

  • 34.7 percent say the football game is the most important part of the day (85 million) while 17.7 percent say the commercials are (43.4 million), and another 4.5 percent say enjoying the fun food is the most important for them (11 million);
  • 43.3 million fans are planning to throw a Super Bowl party (17.7%) while another 70 million say they’d rather let their friends and relatives do the hosting and attend one instead (28.6%);
  • 79.8 percent of partygoers and viewers will purchase food;
  • 7.7 percent of Americans are planning to purchase a new television to enjoy the game – (similar to last year’s 8.8 percent), which could amount to an estimated 8.6 million new televisions;
  • 11.1 percent of those planning to watch the game will buy new team apparel and/or accessories – an estimated 20.9 million new items purchased;
  • Nearly eight in 10 (78.6%) Americans say they view the commercials during the Super Bowl as entertainment, while 17.5 percent say they make them aware of advertisers’ brands, and 10.3 percent said they influence them to buy products from the advertisers.

Outback restaurant co-founder creates new eatery

Bolay restaurant planned for Wellington
Bolay restaurant planned for Wellington

Restaurateur Tim Gannon, co-founder of Outback restaurant  and creator of the “Bloomin’ Onion,” has a knack for knowing what people want to eat.

Now Gannon and son, Chris, are out with a new concept: Bolay, a hip, fun eatery opening in Wellington in February 2016. Bolay will open in the newly-built Buckingham Plaza at 250 S. State Road 7.

Bolay promises to be a fast-casual concept featuring bowls “packed with nutrient-rich super foods” and proteins.

Translation: Look for items such as gluten-free cilantro noodles, Peruvian quinoa and marinated kale and currant salad.

Featured vegetables include Paleo sprouts, smoky cauliflower and and maple-roasted butternut squash. Proteins will include tuna, spiced steak, lemon chicken and tofu.

The concept will allow people to walk through a line and direct a Bolay employee to include the desired food items.

The food is intended to be healthy, nutritious and loaded with energy. “We want people to feel good about what they’re about to compose and eat,” Tim Gannon said.

Bolay, in fact, is the polar-opposite of the heavy, fried meal. “We’re going to be food-coma free,” Chris Gannon quipped.

“Every molecule in the building is going to be healthy,” Tim Gannon added.

But taste is important, too. The Gannons hail from New Orleans, where flavor and spice are important. “As much as the Bloom’ Onion send you flavor-wise into a special place, we’ll do the same thing without the heavy feeling or caloric content,” Tim Gannon said.

Gannon, who now lives on Palm Beach, is a former Wellington resident and polo aficionado. He said Wellington is dedicated to being physical and healthy, making it a good fit for the first Bolay store.

But Gannon expects to expand quickly once open. He’d like to open in West Palm Beach and Palm Beach Gardens, and throughout South Florida. Franchising is an option down the road, too, he said.

For now, though, Tim Gannon said he’s happy to work with son, Chris, to get Bolay off the ground.

In addition to food, Bolay also will feature cold-pressed juices, wine and craft beer from nearby breweries, Chris Gannon said.

As much as possible, food will be locally sourced and seasonal, Chris added.

Chef Martin Oswald, former protégé of Wolfgang Puck, helped curate Bolay’s menu.  Oswald is known for cooking food based on a Nutritarian diet,  a way of eating based on food choices that maximize the micronutrients per calorie.

Tim Gannon expects the bowls to be priced from between $8 to $11 for lunch, and he said they will be large enough for people to save some to eat later for dinner, too.

Bolay will be open from 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. seven days a week. A grand opening date is not yet known but will be announced in the future.