WILLIAM KNOUS – The East Texas shopper is a unique individual. They demand the utmost quality, a high level of service and the ease of convenience. They will also pay a fair price to get all of these things delivered in a friendly environment full of capable people. In these stipulations, they are certainly not alone. However, they are set apart by a sincere desire for their shopping experience to bridge, on a very personal level, the memories of the small town shopping of their youth and the selection and style of the growing, vibrant cities of the future.
It’s this uniqueness that makes Highland Park Village the perfect destination for those looking to browse the most sophisticated selection of high-end shopping in an atmosphere that feels almost like the Main Street of their youth… Though to be fair, it’s unlikely many people grew up with a Dior boutique down the street.
“Highland Park Village is the first outdoor shopping center in America, and is listed in the National Registry of Historic Places by the United States Department of the Interior,” said Chief Marketing Officer Kersten Rettig. “In fact, many of the outdoor shopping centers being built all around the country are modeled after the original designs of Highland Park Village.” A family-run venture, the center is privately owned and run by Ray and Heather Washburne with Stephen and Elisa Summers who purchased the site in 2009, and immediately began restoring and improving the heritage and architecture of the complex in its original Spanish style. The unending goal is to create a lovely, European lifestyle and shopping experience. The lifestyle section includes an impressive array of food, services and entertainment. There are indoor and outdoor cafés ranging from Mediterranean bistro fare to classic Tex-Mex, a movie theater, a dry cleaners and even a grocery store. And the shops? Oh, the shops… just think of an amazing, luxurious designer and you’ll find them at Highland Park Village: Christian Louboutin, Chanel, Dior, Hermes, Carolina Herrera… the list goes to 60, for the moment.
“The owners’ mission is to make Highland Park Village a true destination – whether you live across the street, across the state or across the pond,” Rettig explained. “From entertainment to fine dining to internationally recognized shopping, there is absolutely nothing else like it.” Though there are certainly stores like this to be found in other locations, none mixes the accessibility, style, personal service and plainly Texas charm of Highland Park Village. It’s like having a small town tucked between Love Field and SMU that just so happens to carry every label you’ve ever dreamed about.
But Highland Park Village is more than simply a collection of storefronts. They are interested in creating relationships and a real community: a true diversion featuring events, luncheons and innumerable amenities. For example, the Dior Heritage Exhibition – which includes vintage dresses from Christian Dior’s original 1947 collection and the photography of Patrick Demarchelier – will make only its next stop in Highland Park Village, having previously only been seen in Shanghai, Beijing and Moscow. “There will be more events like this on the way,” Rettig promised. “It’s easy for people to follow and to find us: Highland Park Village is remarkably engaged with our friends and clients through Facebook, Twitter
(@HP_Village), our website hpvillage.com and blog Style & Social, as well as on Instagram.”
Since 1931, Highland Park Village has been the premier shopping destination in Texas. To maintain that exclusivity, the owners are keenly attuned to keeping the selection of shops, dining and events relevant to everyone – including our neighbors in East Texas. They know the East Texas scene, the social and charity events and they want to bridge the gap. “I’ve heard from many boutiques in Highland Park Village that we regularly have guests from the Tyler area who come in to shop. There’s a lively social and philanthropic energy there and Highland Park Village wants to be a part of that culture,” said Rettig. “Highland Park Village is such a beautiful shopping center, it is the perfect mother/daughter shopping experience, something much more intimate and special than a trip to the mall. We want families, couples – a trip to Highland Park Village can be a memorable experience. We even have couples who come here to get engaged!” There is a personal shopper who can create a truly one-on-one experience by cultivating a style selection for clients who desire that level of service or who simply don’t have the time to hit every storefront themselves. They can host events for groups who wish to travel to Dallas and make a day of it in a warm, family-friendly environment that dispenses with the traditional headaches of a trip to the mall. “It truly is something special,” said Rettig. “We are a shopping center community focused on high levels of service, while remaining unpretentious. Tyler, Longview and all of East Texas is very important to us, and we want to connect with them however we can. The communities of Tyler, Longview and all of East Texas are important to Highland Park Village, so much so they are mailing the March issue of Highland Park Village magazine to many residents in the area. We’d love to host groups or individuals or families. We want to welcome the people of East Texas to Highland Park Village and introduce them to a place we know they’ll want to visit for years to come.”