On Friday, Oct. 25, the high-end athleisure brand lululemon expanded into downtown Lincoln, minutes away from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln campus.
In fall 2018, lululemon opened a seasonal store in the Gateway Mall to gauge community interest in the brand, according to Julie Harris, the Central West U.S. regional manager. Harris said that lululemon chose to permanently open downtown to be easily accessible for its target customers after the store determined that there was interest in the market for their brand.
“We really decided that being close to campus and downtown and all that activity was the right decision to make,” she said.
Community and interaction with their patrons is an important aspect of the company, Harris said. Besides evaluating interest in profitable areas, the seasonal pop-up also gave lululemon the chance to understand the Lincoln community, and determine how best to serve them, she said.
“We really see ourselves as a resource for the community,” Harris said. “And that can be very community-specific because what is needed at the Mall of America is going to be very different than what’s needed in downtown Lincoln.”
lululemon hosts classes and events out of its store, and they are typically free for anyone interested, according to Harris. The company wants shoppers to have an experience and think of the store as a resource, not just a place to spend money, according to Harris.
“If you’re a yogi, we want you to think of lululemon as the place to go to learn about yoga classes, potentially take a class at our store, and yes, buy the apparel that’s the right apparel for your favorite sweaty pursuit,” Harris said.
Upcoming events for the month of December include a high-intensity interval training session featuring trainers from PowerCycle, on Sunday, Dec. 1. PowerCycle is a local Lincoln fitness studio, and while lululemon employees may sometimes teach a class, Harris said it is more common for the brand to bring in community fitness experts.
“[The store] is a place where they come to learn something whether it’s about our product or about the community or about a class that they’ve never taken,” Harris said.
Junior marketing major Megan Grace, said she has shopped with the brand before and is pleased with the store’s location
“I know a lot of college students like lululemon, so having it that close I think will be exciting,” Grace said.
Harris said that she hopes lululemon’s proximity to campus will encourage college students to come out for the workshops and learn about new forms of fitness.
“Our goal with the store is to serve the community in the way that that community needs,” Harris said.
This article was modified at 9:58 a.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 27, to lowercase each mention of lululemon.