This morning, American Girl made a grand announcement on their Facebook page:
That being said, it is really nice that there is a united excitement about the new store.
I think I may be the only one, or maybe one of a very few individuals, who isn't.
On American Girl Playthings, there was a thread about how we as collectors felt about the direction Mattel is taking the company, especially when it comes to the number of stores they open. I was living in New York at the time, so a lot of people thought I was biased when I stated that I would rather they just keep the 3 flagship stores (Chicago, New York, and Los Angeles). So now that I live in Alabama, I think that I will give my updated perspective.
I was either 12 or 13 when the New York American Girl Place opened. I was a huge fan of their books and I knew that they had historical dolls, but I had never seen a catalog so I had NO idea that their line had expanded to what it was. I wasn't a fan of dolls at that point anyway. But when the store opened, the grand opening was featured in our local newspaper and seeing all of the pictures of girls with their big red bags and their noses pressed up against the glass displays made me want to make a trip up into the city. However, that trip didn't happen until my friend invited me to her birthday party where the main event was a trip to the American Girl store. Long story short, once we got inside the store, they had me. It was pretty much overwhelming: the Historical floor (3rd), the Modern floor (1st), the Bitty Baby, Hopscotch Hill, Angelina Ballerina, and Cafe floor (4th), and the Gallery (an art gallery with large, mounted paintings of the book illustrations) which was on the 2nd floor. And let's not forget the Theater on the 3rd floor. Going to the American Girl Place was an EXPERIENCE, and one that included more than just shopping. Especially in the Historical Collection room, where there were placards with historical facts, just like a museum.
Today, I have no desire to go to the American Girl Place, even the flagship stores. The flagship stores are nothing more than bigger boutiques; they occupy an entire building, instead of being a small store inside of a mall somewhere. Before I left New York, I stopped by the AGP there on 5th Ave. where I picked up a doll; thankfully, the doll was displayed in the front of the store so I could pick her up, walk to the register, and leave. My heart breaks because I know what the store was like before they commercialized it to no end. I am only glad that I got a chance to get the full experience, something that my future daughters and the girls of today and tomorrow will never get the chance to do.
Now don't get me wrong, I share in the excitement of those who did not have the means to travel to the flagship stores. I can imagine that I too would be beside myself with excitement. For those who never visited the flagship stores when the theater and art galleries were there, they have nothing to compare it to. I suppose ignorance is bliss after all.