The move follows a seven month hiatus that began when the former Commons at Calabasas location closed last March, resulting in Ann Taylor Loft's takeover of the space M. Fredric called home for more than a decade.
“Unfortunately, our lease had expired and we were unable to renew,” said Elaina Karatzas, M. Fredric’s marketing manager and one-time sales associate at the former locale.
“We were very sad to leave our home of 12 years at the Calabasas Commons," she said. "However, we are beyond excited to have finally found a new home.”
Replacing former tenant Nicky’s Pro Karate, which relocated just down Mulholland Highway to the Calabasas Place Shopping Center on Old Topanga Road, the new M. Fredric opened Oct. 4 in what was called a “Class A" shopping center by Mike Smith, executive director of real estate for the Arden Group Inc, which owns the space's landlord, Gelson’s.
Deciding to keep the store in town when the “right opportunity” came up, M. Fredric's owner Fred Levine said he’s delighted to be back in the Calabasas community.
“We’re looking for this store to be one of our best since it has over 12 years of history in the community, and the proximity to Gelson's is a real plus,” he said.
Consisting of 2,300 square feet of clothing and accessories for women and children, the new store offers the same variety of labels ranging from casual to chic, set amidst a dark wood interior illuminated by elegant chandeliers and festive stringed lights. Plush seating, giant mirrors and several changing rooms accented by soft rugs provide an apt setting for trying on clothes.
Although slightly smaller than its predecessor in the Commons, the space is open and much larger than the temporary M. Fredric store that inhabited the Gelson’s shopping center during the holidays last year.
Despite the closing of its former Calabasas locations, 2011-2012 also saw the opening of three stores, including in Ventura and Newport Beach in addition to Calabasas, bringing the total to eight locations in Southern California. In business for more than three decades, the Agoura Hills-based company also sells online.
At home in Calabasas, business has been great since so far, said Karatzas. “Our customers are so happy to have a local M. Fredric store they can pop in to. We have been welcomed back with open arms and we are so grateful for it!”
Levine agrees. “The Gelson's space was perfect and we have been able to keep our Calabasas customers since this location is just a mile or so from the former location.”
However, some loyal customers have had trouble tracking down its whereabouts.
“Most of our calls have been from customers looking for the new store, mostly from the Commons,” said Kelly Kaiser, a transplant from the former store and sales associate of a dozen years who finds it confusing to give directions to the shopping center located near the intersection of Mulholland Drive and Mulholland Highway. “I usually tell them to map it.”
Shoppers at the Commons looking to make the 2.6-mile trip can head northeast on Calabasas Way, turn right on Valley Circle/Mulholland Drive, and continue for 1.7 miles to take another right on Mulholland Highway. M. Fredric is located on the right in the Gelson’s Village at the far, south end of the center.
In addition to loyal clientele, the new location is also attracting some new foot traffic, said Kaiser.
“This is so great,” exclaimed one such shopper aloud as she perused the children’s section, which features a plethora of accessories for both genders in addition to an array of trendy fashions. “It’s better than Justice. I’m telling all my girlfriends.”
“All the customers are really happy with it,” said Kaiser. “They’re happy we’re back.”
And while special Black Friday discounts are in the plans, employees aren’t giving any hints as to what deals may await shoppers during the store’s premiere holiday shopping season. “We can’t say until Friday,” said Kaiser.
In the spirit of the holidays, M. Fredric has been busy out carrying philanthropic missions. A few west valley locations have raised more than $6,000 since May for "Zoe's Helping Hands" in benefit of Zoe Feldman, a 3-year-old Agoura Hills preschooler who is fighting sarcoma botryoides, a rare form of cancer.
Dedicated to fighting cancer in its many forms, the clothing company adopted Camp Ronald McDonald for Good Times in 2007, which provides children with cancer with seven days of sleep-away camp. M. Fredric is also half-way to its goal of raising $1 million for research, education and awareness of the American Cancer Society as part of a company-wide crusade against breast cancer.
Located at 22283 Mulholland Hwy., M. Fredric is open 10 a.m. - 6 p.m. Monday-Saturday and Sundays from 11 a.m. - 6 p.m.
For more information, visit M. Fredric online or call them at 818-223-8400.