- The Washington Times - Monday, July 1, 2002

Retail & Hospitality

Crayola has added a splash of color to Arundel Mills. Crayola Works, the 20,000-square-foot crayon playground that officially opened June 21, offers tons of Crayola products from the basic box of crayons to elaborate coloring kits, board games and crafts.
It's hard to miss even from the outside. The building, nestled between Off 5th-Saks Fifth Avenue Outlet and Jillian's, is bright red and covered in blotches of colors. Stepping inside is like stepping into a life-sized box of 64 crayons.
Colorful lights are flashing, disco-style. Rainbows of colors follow a pattern along the floor. A black-and-white Volkswagen Beetle is parked in one corner of the store, where children can color on it using special markers.
An 11,000-square-foot studio takes up one side of the store and can accommodate up to 200 people for craft projects.
"We didn't just want this to be a store," says Nancy DeBellis, director of retail development for Binney & Smith, which makes Crayola products. "We wanted this to be an experience."
Considering that more than 1.4 million households with children live within 40 miles of Arundel Mills, it's an ideal location for Easton, Pa.-based Crayola's first store.
"That's certainly an opportunity for us," Ms. DeBellis says.
Crayola Works, which has 60 full- and part-time employees, is taking the place of the Home Co., a furniture retailer that was a temporary tenant at the 1.3-million-square-foot center.
Arundel Mills, which opened November 2000 in Hanover, Md., has several tenants unique to the Washington area, including Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World, Muvico Egyptian 24 Theaters and Sun & Ski Sports.
In the spring, the center will be home to the 55,000-square-foot Medieval Times Dinner and Tournament, a restaurant chain offering live shows with a Renaissance flare.

Clear alternative to waiting
Sprint PCS, which claims it is the "clear alternative to cellular" in its advertising, has opened its first Express store in the District.
The store isn't full-service, although it is staffed at all times with three employees and offers about a dozen different models of phones.
What tends to eat up the most time at any wireless-phone store is the activation process, so Sprint PCS has given the activating power to the customers.
Customers buy the phones at the store and then either use one of two kiosks inside to activate the phones or start the service via an automated telephone system.
The Express store, which opened on Friday at 609 14th St. in Northwest, is the only one in the Washington area.

Meeting planners needs
Marriott International has added a new cyberspace feature for meeting planners.
The Bethesda-based hotel chain is targeting the meeting planning industry with a Web site that provides instant access to information on about 37 full-service Marriott properties in the mid-Atlantic region. The Web site (www.midatlanticmeetings.com), which was set up earlier this year, includes meeting space details, hotel news, promotions and direct contact information.
"The whole concept behind this is about offering information and giving tools that [meeting planners] would use," says Timothy Law, regional director of marketing and communications at Marriott.
In addition, the hotel chain will create free custom Web pages for all clients who book events at one of the full-service Marriott or Renaissance hotels in the mid-Atlantic area. The Web page can provide detailed information for the meeting's attendees. Marriott is setting up 50 to 100 custom Web pages.
Donna De Marco can be reached at 202/636-4884 or by e-mail at [email protected] Retail & Hospitality runs every other Monday.


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