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Jessica Marrone Parkes and Jackie Schatell
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Shoppers Are Discovering and Buying Things They Didn’t Even Know They Were Looking For At Livingston’s Cost Plus World Market

Jackie Goldman-Schatell

Saturday, July 12, 2014 • 3:11am

LIVINGSTON, NJ – The ribbon was cut in Livingston on Thursday at Cost Plus World Market, a one-stop entertainment shop carrying exclusive unique items—from home décor to gourmet foods, regional coffees and teas. While it is the company’s 269th store overall, this one, which is located at 530 West Mt. Pleasant Ave. on Route 10 West, is the company’s first one in the northeast. Based out of California, and located in 32 states, the next closest store is located in Maryland.

Councilman Michael Silverman, who attended the ribbon cutting said, “The store is fabulous and it is an honor to Livingston that World Market came to Livingston in its first foray into the northeast. It sells an eclectic array of products that will be great for everybody and anybody throughout Livingston.”

“The store is an entertainment destination,” said District Manager of Mid-Atlantic Operations Larry Amos. “It is for that individual who just wants to spruce up the house and invite over some friends. We have anything you need—it’s a one-stop shop. So, if you want to do an Asian night, we have everything you could possibly need right down to the seaweed wrap to make sushi, woks, and chop sticks. We are the one-stop entertainment shop.”

According to Chief Operating Officer Jeff Turner, the core World Market customer is “typically a female between 35 and 55 who likes to travel, likes adventure and to discover, is someone who has fun shopping, likes to entertain and is looking for home décor and entertaining items.”

“We know we are a store of wants versus needs,” said Turner. “It’s discretionary so people walk around and discover things they didn’t know they were looking for and hopefully they say, ‘oh this is fun, neat different and cool—I want this’ and they buy it. We are not just great products—this is a store of exploring.”

World Market is a division of Bed Bath and Beyond, which is headquartered in Union. World Market executive said that this is one reason Livingston was chosen as the location for the first northeast store.

“This store gave us the opportunity to have some partnerships in the northeast,” said Turner. “We are thrilled to open our first store in the northeast. We have lots of customers in the northeast that have transplanted from other areas of the country and it is one of our strongest areas that people buy from via ecommerce so we know that people from the northeast are going to love our products, or stores, our brand and our culture. Therefore, we though Livingston would be a great place for our first store. And, so far it has been wonderful.”

He added, “We are also looking at additional sites in the northeast and hope to have many more stores here in the next few years.”

Aside from perusing the aisles full of housewares, furniture, throw pillows, toys, lamps, gift cards and bags, bathroom accessories, aprons, pajamas, robes and gourmet foods and beverages, guests can also sample three coffee blends and three teas seven days a week.

“This store is different from our other ones in that we are carrying a line of several regional blends of whole bean coffees from around the world that are exclusive to this particular store and retail for $9.99,” said Amos.

“What’s great about the format of the store is how the coffees are presented,” he added. “There is actually a map for customers to identify the particular regions throughout the world where the beans were actually sourced from.”

He continued, “Also exclusive to this NJ store is our old fashioned candy station with over 25 exclusive types of candy from everything from gummy bears and gummy piggies, to Cracker Jax and goofy taffies that take you back to Boston Baked Beans. They are fun and some are very nostalgic, so you will hear customers say, ‘I remember this,’ and everything is under $3.00.”

World Market executives said that the store is different from competitors because of the types of products offered and the staff.

“Product tags list the country of origin for products that are imported from more than 50 countries including the US and they tell the stories behind the eclectic items,” said Turner. “In terms of what we are offering, we try to offer unique items at very affordable prices, so we really work hard to provide a value to the customer and bring in quality products in from all over the world including the US.”

Amos said, “The two biggest factors in regard to competitors are the team and culture—they are like none other and it is really consistent from California to Maryland. The second thing is our product. The majority of our products are authentic. There is a story around each one, with a story on the tag that will tell you where it was made, and that it is an original source and not something made in China like you see from many competitors. These products are authentic and are ‘the real deal’ and NJ has a very strong market of customers that are looking for that. That is our niche. And, our coffees combined with the home décor really set us apart.”

“We are completely different and any customer who walks in will say it is a different feel, a different environment and I honestly think our team sets the store apart,” added Amos.  “We have great associates who are pumped and excited and helpful. They make suggestions, and are excited about the products too. You are not going to find that anywhere else and I challenge you to try.”

Turner added, “We feel we have a unique culture, brand and personality and we try in terms of the teams we build to create a fun discovery environment where everyone loves what they are doing and loves the company and products—it really shows in our people. We also really want our customers to enjoy being in the store and have a fun and enjoyable experience.”

World Market also offers an online experience.

”We carry everything in the stores and more on the website, said Turner. “We are doing a lot with our Omni channel. Our e-commerce business is growing significantly and we offer buy online and pick up in store, however, we haven’t started it here yet. We generally wait a little bit for new stores to start up before introducing that. And, we are doing things with tablets in stores.”

Many Livingston residents attended the ribbon cutting and stayed to shop.

Senior Vice President, External Affairs at Barnabas Health, Lou LaSalle said, “My wife and I browsed the store on Saturday and I was amazed. It is eclectic. Everything you can think of is in one store under one roof.”

Livingston resident Michael McMane, a financial consultant with Key Group Management, Inc. said, “I think I join a lot of people in saying I am very excited to have them in Livingston. My wife was in ahead of me last week to check it out. She loved it and came home with a lot of neat stuff. They have a great track record and it is a beautiful store with a lot of unique things.”

“Having Cost Plus World Market as their first NJ store here in Livingston is very exciting,” said Councilman Rudy Fernandez. “You look around and see they have great products and great staff—it is going to bring a lot to this area.”

He added, “I know this store is going to be very successful. I was talking to the employees and they are very excited to be here and they brought other store managers in from throughout the country to help out just for the first couple of days. It is being run very smoothly. The store also has high-quality merchandise. We are looking forward to a long-term relationship between the township and Cost Plus World Market.”

This week, Cost Plus World Market has been offering grand-opening sales and coupons, and has a celebration planned on Saturday, July 12 where Jonathan and Drew Scott, the hosts of HGTV's "Property Brothers," will be making an appearance from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. The first 200 shoppers who bring in five non-perishable food items to donate to the Community Food Bank of New Jersey will have the opportunity to meet them and receive signed photos. To learn more and get discount coupons click here.

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