LAKEWOOD – Panera Bread and Men’s Wearhouse are coming to Lakewood later this year.
“(Panera Bread) is one of my favorite places to stop while on the road,” said David Wordelmann, Lakewood mayor. “It’s a real welcome addition to Lakewood.”
Wordelmann said quite a few people expressed excitement over Panera Bread coming to Lakewood.
However, ground cannot be broken until the spring. When the building goes up and opens its doors – which will be anywhere in the rough time frame of the summer or later in 2014 – it will be on Mall Boulevard between Arby’s and Five Star Bank across from Chautauqua Mall.
According to its website, Panera Bread’s legacy began in 1981 as Au Bon Pain Co. Inc., founded by Louis Kane and Ron Shaich. In 1999, the company’s name changed to Panera Bread and BusinessWeek recognized it as one of the “100 Hot Growth Companies.” In 2006, Panera Bread was named as the top performer in the restaurant category for one-, five- and 10-year returns to shareholders in The Wall Street Journal’s Shareholder Scorecard.
In addition to Panera Bread, Men’s Wearhouse will be coming to the Lakewood Village Center shortly.
“It’s going to be another good addition,” said Wordelmann. “Personally I like it because it’s an upscale men’s clothing store where I can shop, and that’s different from what we have here now.”
Men’s Wearhouse started in 1973 in Texas by George Zimmer and his college roommate. In 1981, the stores expanded to California. In 2000, Men’s Wearhouse started renting tuxedos in Seattle, Wash. The practice was successful, and by 2002 every Men’s Wearhouse rented tuxedos. Also in 2000, FORTUNE Magazine named Men’s Wearhouse in its “100 Best Companies to Work for in America.” In 2011, Zimmer handed over the CEO title to Douglas Ewert, president and chief operating officer.
Wordelmann is pleased with the influx of big-name businesses coming to Lakewood.
“I think it goes back to that plaza itself – TJ Maxx – that used to be a Quality Markets in there, and Tops bought out Quality Markets,” he said. “That store basically wasn’t going to be kept open, so that plaza actually sat empty for a couple years. The County of Chautauqua Industrial Development Agency stepped in with the owner, and he reinvested $3.5 million into that plaza with a tax-break package.”
He said the reinvestment caused a ripple effect on the whole area, and once the three main businesses came in to fill the plaza – TJ Maxx, Michael’s and PetSmart – other businesses began to follow suit.
“We’ll continue to do what we can to encourage businesses to come in,” Wordelmann said. “We basically try to get out of their way when they’re coming. We’ll help businesses when we can, but try to keep the regulations and the hoops and the things they have to climb through to get their businesses up and running as simple as possible. That helps encourage businesses.”