Photo courtesy of lululemon athletica

One of the country’s hottest retailers will open a showroom in Fondren in early August  on August 1. lululemon athletica, maker of technical athletic apparel for yoga, running, dancing, and “most other sweaty pursuits”, is coming to Duling Avenue in Fondren Place.

Kyla Weems, showroom manager, says she chose Fondren for the cozy boutique style location. “It’s like stopping by a friend’s home to catch up,” she explains. “We’ll be offering tons of great product, but we’ll spend as much time in the community as we do in the showroom.”

lululemon will not be open daily. Weems says hours will most likely be Thursday through Saturday and they may even close early for private trunk shows and events. She says “We are out and about, going to local gyms and studios and supporting our local athletes at 5ks and marathons with signs and water stops.”

The concept is grassroots and everything is based on customer feedback. “The showroom is how we started,” Weems says. “Every time we roll out a new product line, it’s based on feedback that we have gathered.” Some of that feedback can even come from places like the chalk boards in dressing rooms where customers have given comment to a particular fit or style. “There are so many cool factors about how we care about our guests.”

Building owner and developer Mike Peters says that welcoming a tenant like lululemon is strategic. “I’m not out looking to bring in a national retailer just because,” he explains. “This is different. They are in neighborhoods like this all over the country and they’re very community oriented.” Fondren Renaissance Executive Director Jim Wilkirson agrees, calling lululemon the perfect fit for Fondren. Wilkirson says “It’s personal and community driven and won’t feel like a big box store.”

Peters says local support will be key. “They came here on their own, unsolicited, showed up in my office and said ‘This is where we want to be. Everyone told us to come to Fondren.’” Peters adds lululemon did their research and that his team did their job to convince the retailer that Fondren is where they need to be forever. “We don’t want them to ever leave.”

Scotta Brady, owner of Butterfly Yoga, echoes the sentiment. “I’m totally excited about it,” she says. “I wear their clothing and can’t wait for them to be here. They do a great job at cultivating community, promoting yoga, running and all kinds of things.”

News of the store’s arrival is a good sign for the neighborhood, too, Peters believes. “It says the national economy is getting better,” he tells us. “They don’t expand when the economy is down. It’s another national retailer who has chosen Jackson city limits as their new place. Good things are happening here.”

Founded in 1998 in Vancouver, British Columbia, lululemon shared their first retail space with a yoga studio. Their technical exercise clothing is sold worldwide. “Talk to young women, 18 to 40, that are in that kind of workout-yoga-running thing,” Peters says. “lululemon is the equivalent of an Apple store for them.”

As lululemon arrives on Duling, Marcy Fischer Nessel has announced her Fischer Galleries will be relocating this fall. “We are thankful for your continued and overwhelming support for the past five years and look forward to greeting you in our new space,” she says. “We welcome lululemon to our space and all the fresh, young energy they are bringing to the neighborhood!”

Update: 8/1/13: Grand opening comments and photos

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