After two years of sitting empty, the former Nordstrom building at the Galleria at Tyler has a new owner and occupant, Furniture City, which, as its name implies, is a furniture store.
In Summer of 2020 Nordstrom at the Galleria at Tyler closed its doors after nearly 30 years. Nordstrom first opened in Riverside in the fall of 1991, at what is simply known as “the mall” by residents, as part of an overall expansion that included the creation of a whole new second floor, new retailers, and the food court.
For many years, Nordstrom was one of the only high-end retailers in the area. Shortly after the COVID pandemic hit in the Spring of 2020, Nordstrom announced it would be closing several stores, including the Riverside location, much to community dismay and disappointment, as evidenced by public social media posts and comments on various platforms.
A former Nordstrom employee created a petition to the Riverside City Council on change.org to try keep the store open.
“For the last 29 years Nordstrom at the Riverside Galleria Mall has been serving you (our amazing customers) and our community,” reads the petition description. “On Thursday, May 7 , we were informed that our store will not reopen due to the Covid-19 crisis. We love all of our customers and have formed deep bonds with all of you; we know shopping online will never replace the years of service and friendship that we have shared. We have watched your children grow up, we have dressed you for vacations, weddings and once in a lifetime milestones that could never be forgotten. We have faith in knowing that you shop at our location because of the friendships and connections that you have built with your favorite sales people. So we’re asking that you sign this petition in an attempt to get the Nordstrom family to change their minds and keep your local and favorite Nordstrom afloat. We are all in this together!”
The petition, which circulated on social media, garnered 9,573 signatures out of the 10,000-signature goal. The petition had no bearing on the closure of Nordstrom as the decision had already been made by corporate.
Given the place Nordstrom had in the retail scene in Riverside, as well as in the hearts of many residents, its closure raised questions such as what the impact would be the to the Galleria itself, given that Nordstrom was a big draw to the mall, and what the economic impact would be for the city as a whole.
Riverside City Councilmember Jim Perry addressed some of these issues in a phone interview on Thursday, August 11, 2022.
“As soon as I heard Nordstrom was closing, I got on the phone and spoke to Nordstrom representatives,” Perry said when asked if the City made any attempt to keep the store open. “Nordstrom said the closure was a business decision, but they did not go into detail.”
Perry said that the City did not know beforehand that the store would be closing, saying they found out only after Nordstrom announced their decision. Perry added that the City was not at all involved in any of the decisions that were made as far as what to do with the building, which was owned by Nordstrom. He said that Nordstrom sold the building to Furniture City and that the City of Riverside had no direct involvement in the matter.
“We were not involved in any way since it is not city property nor a city project,” he said. “Many times the City is not aware of new businesses until [the process is] finalized.”
As far as the economic impact from the loss of Nordstrom, Perry said that it is too soon to tell until the new business is fully up and running.
“Furniture City chose Riverside,” he said. “Their goal is to make an impact in the furniture business in this region.”
Regarding questions about the former Nordstrom building itself, a spokesperson for Brookfield Properties, which owns and operates the Galleria at Tyler, said in a phone interview that they could not comment on anything related to its use or occupancy as Brookfield Properties does not own nor operate the building.
So, what can consumers expect from a post-Nordstrom Galleria at Tyler moving forward?
Josh Deckelbaum, vice president of leasing at Brookfield Properties, said that they are working to bring in new retailers and other improvement projects though he could not go into detail about who those retailers are or other projects as that information is not yet publicly available.
“We do our best to bring curated retailers for consumers to have the best possible shopping and dining experience,” he said. “We have deep roots in the community, and we want both consumers and tenants to thrive.”