Buckle has opened a youth clothing store in Idaho Falls’ Grand Teton Mall. The store is one of only two Buckle Youth stores in the U.S.
Buckle Youth — which opened Wednesday in the mall — is an experimental brand, developed by J’dee Grover, Buckle’s district manager for the Pacific Northwest and manager of the Grand Teton Mall location.
“I wanted more room for my adult product and wanted to expand the youth business,” Grover said.
Grover’s idea originally was shot down by the company’s CEO.
“I said, ‘Hey, will you let me try this?” Grover said. “He said, ‘No, why would we want to pay two rents?”
The success of Buckle’s Idaho Falls store eventually persuaded the CEO to give the green light on the Buckle Youth store. Grover said the Grand Teton Mall Buckle is seventh for sales volume among more than 500 stores in the U.S.
“This Buckle does perform extremely well for our company,” he said. “In Idaho Falls Buckle has a good reputation. We carry a quality product and have good service.”
Grover, who has two young sons, said there aren’t many options for quality youth clothing.
“In Idaho Falls there’s families with lots of kids,” he said.
Amanda Dipo, 35, of Idaho Falls, is not among the many Idaho Falls residents who regularly shop at Buckle, but she stopped in the Buckle Youth store Friday when she heard about the grand opening.
Dipo was shopping with her three children, ages 14, 12 and 10. Dipo said she liked the selection in the new store, and she referred to the store associates as “personal shoppers” as they pulled different sizes off the racks for her children to try on.
“Generally, there’s too many brands out there to focus on sizes,” Dipo said. “It’s nice to come here and they just pull all the sizes, and we just figure it all out together.”
In addition to the service, Dipo admired the quality and prices of Buckle Youth’s selection.
“We’re not normally Buckle shoppers, but they have good enough prices, so we’ll stick around and buy some clothes,” she said. “The quality of clothes is better here, too — (better) than at Target or Walmart.”
Buckle Youth is going to need more satisfied shoppers such as Dipo. The store sold 300 to 400 percent normal volume during its first two days, Grover said, but those numbers likely won’t be sustainable beyond the grand opening rush.
Buckle Youth has half a year to prove it’s worth double the rent.
The Grand Teton Mall and Twin Falls’ Magic Valley Mall will each have a Buckle Youth store for the next six months. If they’re successful, the stores could remain open.
“I’m hoping that the community will support us, and keep it open for us,” Grover said.