Oct. 08--Central Florida, get ready for American Girl -- but not until late next year.
The region's first American Girl, a popular specialty doll shop, will open in the fall of 2014 at Florida Mall, company officials said Tuesday. The 15,000-square-foot store will be located near Zara and H&M.
It will be only the second American Girl in Florida, joining another in Miami, and the 17th store nationwide. American Girl is owned by the toy maker Mattel.
The stores are meant to provide more than just a shopping experience. They're more of a destination for young girls and their moms -- or dads.
Along with dolls of all kinds of books, customers can eat or throw parties at a store bistro, get their dolls a new hairdo in the Doll Hair Salon and even design a T-shirt for their dolls at the "Creativi-Tees" boutique.
The store also partners with nearby hotels for "American Girl Package" experiences but won't announce any Central Florida deals until a few months before the opening, a company spokeswoman said.
"American Girl will be a phenomenal addition to The Florida Mall as we continue to enhance our already popular shopping experience," Brian Hanson, general manager of The Florida Mall, said in a news release. "The retailer's unique concept will be the perfect complement to our family-friendly mix of stores and restaurants."
Wade Opland, American Girl's vice president of retail, said Florida Mall's "upscale mix of retail and restaurants is a great fit for our brand and provides us with an amazing opportunity to debut our innovative retail concept to American Girl fans in the Orlando area, while introducing a whole new audience of girls and families to our brand."