After the slow summer shopping season, many Broadway store managers are thrilled to see students strolling in front of their new facades. And while many feel the opening of J.Crew in February will only add to the money flowing into their tills, the reaction of Yale students to the clothing stores arrival was mixed.
Denyse Miller, the manager of Alexia Crawford, has worked downtown for 10 years. Having witnessed the Broadway redevelopment from planning to completion, she said J.Crew will benefit not only her store, but all of New Haven.
“I think it’s great,” Miller said. “J.Crew will be a good draw store to bring people in from outside New Haven.”
A One Pizza on Broadway manager Ali Yaglidere reduced the new store’s impact to simple economic terms.
“More traffic means more business,” Yaglidere said. “If having J.Crew means that even only 10 more people walk past my restaurant, then I’ll be happy.”
Having many smaller stores feed off of one or two large national chain stores is exactly how University Properties designed the district to function, said Director John Maturo.
Miller responded to the common criticism that large chains strip New Haven of its identity by saying that the influx of shoppers created by J.Crew and Urban Outfitters will enhance the city’s character, not detract from it.
“I think everyone is excited,” Miller said. “Everyone is tired of going to malls. Broadway is now the place to come in downtown.”
Miller added that intracity travel between the Chapel Street shops and the Broadway district has increased in recent months.
But many Yale students were less enthusiastic about J.Crew coming to campus.
“I was not happy when I heard the news,” Jessie Rossman ’03 said. “I think people here all wear the same thing already, and this is only going to increase that.”
Rossman said she would prefer Yale to find more creative tenants, and not simply generic clothing warehouses.
“Having grown up in Boston, I like how Harvard Square has smaller and more unique stores, not the big chains.”
But fellow Saybrugian Serge Grossman ’03 said J.Crew is a good addition to New Haven. Rather than specialty shops, the new store will serve a wider audience, he said.
“I’m glad to see Yale’s moving ahead with the Broadway project and bringing in stores I would actually shop at,” Grossman said.
Montgomery Lee ’03 said he chooses to view the newest addition in his own pragmatic way.
“While I believe it is not really serving the needs of the city, it is serving my own selfish needs as a Yalie, and I will probably shop there,” Lee said.