MBJ: Another chapter for Gould’s
An original tenant of Poplar Plaza Shopping Center is expanding its operation into part of the former Bookstar space.
Gould’s Salons Inc. dba Gould’s Day Spas and Salons, which opened with the center in 1952, currently operates a 2,000-square-foot salon in Poplar Plaza but has been looking to open a more full-service spa in the area. Bookstar’s vacancy gave Gould’s the chance to expand into 3,680 square feet.
“We’ve been there 59 years,” Philip Gould, president, says. “In 1952, that was considered so far East, my dad used to ask if the city would ever grow that far.”
Gould’s currently employs 13 at Poplar Plaza. With the spa opening in January, it will employ 50 people. The increased employee count is due to additional services, but also because the company will extend its hours to 9 p.m. and be open on Sundays.
Osaka Japanese Cuisine is also a new tenant, leasing 7,300 square feet at the front of the space facing Poplar Avenue. In January, Bookstar vacated 18,000 square feet at 3402 Poplar Ave. Shortly thereafter, calls started coming to Finard Properties LLC, which owns and leases Poplar Plaza, a 359,860-square-foot shopping center at Poplar and Highland.
“We were very pleased with the demand,” Rick Smith, director of property management with Finard Properties, says. “We had heavy interest.”
Finard started with some big-box retailers, but the economics didn’t work out. Local real estate sources say Staples Inc. was considering the site for its third Memphis-area location at one point. Instead, Finard Properties looked to current tenants Gould’s and Momentum Rehab Group, as well as Osaka, an upscale Japanese restaurant with locations in Cordova, Collierville and Olive Branch.
“We’re very pleased with how it landed,” Smith says. “We were just fortunate that Poplar and its old rule of location, location, location helped us out a lot.”
Momentum Rehab will take an as-yet-undetermined amount of the space’s back section. That lease could be around 5,000 square feet, but would depend on how much of the back section is rentable. The back section could be split into two bays.
Gould’s is taking the former Starbucks Cafe section while Osaka will be taking the front part of the former theater, including the main entrance.
Gould’s father, Sam Gould, founded the company in 1932. Philip Gould’s brother, David Gould, serves as the company’s vice president. The company opened its first spa in 1994 at Park and Ridgeway.
“The spa segment of our industry has grown dramatically over the years as people are more into health and well-being,” Philip Gould says.
Gould’s spa concept adds to its full hair service salon concept, with services that include facials, laser treatments, massage therapy, pedicures and manicures.
Gould’s has 13 locations in the Memphis area. Of those, five are spas. The company also operates Gould’s Academy in East Memphis, occupying 13,000 square feet at Park Place Centre. The closest spa locations to Poplar Plaza were the Peabody Hotel Downtown and Park and Ridgeway in East Memphis.
“We feel the market in that Midtown area can really use a high-end spa,” Philip Gould says. “We felt this was a good opportunity to stay there. We’ll be there for another 60 years, I hope.”
Momentum Rehab is relocating from the back section of the shopping center. Kroger Co. is tearing down its 57,000-square-foot store and replacing it with an 87,065-square-foot location, displacing some tenants.
Poplar Plaza’s current occupancy rate is 88 percent, but almost all of the existing vacancy is intentional. This space is being held for tenant relocations which are part of the center’s redevelopment. The redevelopment includes Gould’s, Osaka, a new Comcast store and a newly constructed Kroger. Once the relocations are complete by first quarter 2012, Poplar Plaza will be 98 percent occupied with only two vacancies: a 4,500-square-foot space and a 2,025-square-foot space.
© Memphis Business Journal. By Andy Ashby, Staff Writer