Practically since the day Events opened in 1987, the upscale gift/accessories/stationary emporium has reigned over River Oaks Shopping Center as the center of the gift-giving universe for everyone from brides to sophisticates to the ladies who lunch. So when news of its sale — which took place on Tuesday — hits the streets, eyebrows are sure to be raised and questions posed.
After all, you don't mess with an institution of this ilk, a favorite of River Oaks mavens and those with a penchant for the luxurious.
Fear not, according to new owner Regina Garcia, who purchased the store outright from private owners. Even with the retirement of Events founders Jay Rosenstein and Raymond Barron, Garcia says, "It's so important that we preserve the integrity of the institution, the iconic value to the community . . . It's a very positive transition and we want to maintain the values that Jay and Ray had with the customers and the business."
Garcia says she will be in the store daily and hopes to develop a relationship with her customers.
Those in the retail field might know the Bay City native from her positions with Macy's. Her most recent post as general manager and vice president of Macy's downtown included preparing that location for closing. Garcia recalls that when Macy's announced in early January the pending closure of the store, she received a phone call only hours later indicating that the owners of Events might be interested in selling. And she was interested in buying.
Fast forward to November and Garcia is in the store on Thursday morning conducting a staff meeting. She says she will be in the store daily and hopes to develop a relationship with her customers.
While Garcia does have a few changes in mind, she says "We want the leadership from before to have the same value as the leadership going forward so that the company sees no sawtooth in how the customer views us."
Her plans include adding European luxury gift items, establishing an Events mobile shopping app and online service. "That's coming," she says, adding "My biggest deal now is featuring creations from local artists — local book authors, local digital photographers, local artists." What's moving out to make way for the new has yet to be decided.
"It's vowing to stay true to the Events tradition," Garcia says. "My goal is to honor the tradition while elevating the customer experience with unique offerings and personalized service, intriguing in-store events."