UNIVERSITY PARK -- Two of the latest additions to the Mall at University Town Center will be first on the Gulf Coast, with one being the first in the United States.
Furniture store Lovesac and beauty shop Soap Stories committed to opening inside the Mall at UTC.
Soap Stories applied for a building permit Tuesday for a 1,770-square-foot store on the second level beside J.Jill, near Dillard's.
The Canadian-based company makes soaps from 100 percent vegetable oil-based glycerin. A handmade bar of soap costs $12 Canadian online, or about $11.17 in U.S. dollars. A men's aftershave gel retails for $100 Canadian, or $93 in U.S. dollars
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The University Park store will be the first for the company in the United States, having several locations in Canada, including in Toronto, Edmonton, Calgary and Guelph. It also has shops in Amsterdam and Maastricht, Holland. The company's operations are based in Concord, Ontario, outside of Toronto.
Little about Soap Stories can be found on the company's website, including an official list of locations and basic phone numbers. A marketing representative said the company could not give out information over the phone and did not respond to a reporter's email by deadline Tuesday.
Lovesac is known for modular furniture called "sectionals" that can be rearranged to create various layouts for a couch or loveseat, ottomans and so on. The covers can also be changed and are machine washable.
The company started out in 1995 when 18-year-old Shawn David Nelson want
ed to make the world's largest bean bag chairs. He made his chairs of various foams and dubbed them "lovesacs." He continued making them throughout college at the University of Utah until Red Bull gave him his first order, according to the company's website.
As his business grew, he opened his first store in 2001 at the Gateway Mall in Salt Lake City and appeared on Richard Branson's "Rebel Billionaire" reality show in 2005, where he won $1 million and was made president of Virgin Worldwide as part of the contest, albeit briefly.
The company is hiring a store manager for the mall store and job applicants can apply at lovesac.com/careers.
The University Park store will be the third in the state. Lovesac also has locations at The Falls in Miami and the Town Center at Boca Raton. The company has about 60 locations in the United States and two international locations in Australia and Saudi Arabia.
The two-level Mall at UTC is scheduled to open Oct. 16 and will include Apple, Crate & Barrel, H&M, Macy's, Dillard's, Saks Fifth Avenue and about 100 other stores and restaurants.
Charles Schelle, Herald business reporter, can be reached at 941-745-7095. Follow him on Twitter @ImYourChuck.